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Blue Light Report - May / June 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would first like to say, “Tough times never last. But tough people do.” Pipeliners are some of the toughest and most resilient folks, but we are definitely being tested. We already had many enemies to battle, such as cheap nonunion contractors, biased judges, and extreme environmental protesters.

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Blue Light Report - May / June 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I would first like to say, “Tough times never last. But tough people do.” Pipeliners are some of the toughest and most resilient folks, but we are definitely being tested. We already had many enemies to battle, such as cheap nonunion contractors, biased judges, and extreme environmental protesters.

Now we have to include COVID-19, a drastic stock market drop, and two nations, Russia and Saudi Arabia, flooding the world market with oil to try and kill America’s energy producers. Thank goodness members of OPEC and its allies agreed to slash oil output by nearly 10 million barrels a day, which should return oil prices to around $40 a barrel. This is still relatively low but much better for American producers. COVID-19 has done one thing positive, and it has kept large environmental protest groups at home and out of the headlines. I’ve been in the pipeline industry for 43 years, and I have seen it much worse but for different reasons. If you have been a member of 798 since the early 80s, I don’t have to explain it any further. We are joined at the hip with the oil and gas industry, which is infamously known as a boom or bust industry since its inception. It typically is never a full-time job except during the boom, and just when you think the sun will never quit shining, the bust comes along and brings nothing but grey skies with rain.  

Ironically, I believe that COVID-19 has a chance to teach Americans several valuable lessons for maintaining life, liberty, and the continued pursuit of happiness. First and foremost, we need to move our manufacturing back to America for all products, but specifically our pharmaceuticals. Making prescription medications in China is nothing but pure corporate greed utilizing some of the cheapest labor on the planet for corporate profits. Buy American, and we don’t need to continue to outsource America’s wealth to any foreign country. Second, historically every nation on this Earth that was the superpower of its day had one thing in common, abundant domestically produced energy. America has the coveted position of the superpower of the world. Still, several nations and one national political party are doing their best to destroy that strength that separates us from the rest of the world. Fortunately, we have pipeline work to do before the build-out is complete from several years of agonizing permit problems.  

Negotiations for our National Pipeline Agreement are continuing, and hopefully, by June 1st, this issue will be resolved, and all parties satisfied with the outcome. The work is still just crawling along mostly due to the problems of how to handle social distancing, quarantine guidelines, and still get a pipeline built at the same time. Most, if not all, jobs require a series of questions pertaining to COVID-19 and are taking the temperature of all workers before employment. Some clients and contractors are taking temperatures daily as a precaution. 

Keystone XL should be finished with the border crossing by the time you receive this publication. KXL plans to move forward with spreads in Montana and Nebraska, with the remaining spreads being constructed in 2021. Enbridge Line 3 still looks good for this year along with the Atlantic Coast and the completion of the Mountain Valley. Thousands of miles of pipe are currently being bid down south under the Market Recovery rates. We have limited success, but the awards are still pending on numerous large projects. Just as last year, the lion’s share of our man-hours will be smaller jobs and smaller pipe. It may not be as sexy as working on a big spread, but many times it opens opportunities for our members to showcase their skillsets instead of just doing one task over and over. 

Last but certainly not least, we need to push our advocacy harder than ever. At this moment, we have a distinct advantage over the protesters, as they will not be making any headlines. At the same time, we continue to collectively use our voices to push ahead for the pipeline industry. I want to try to convey in words with all sincerity, that I understand many of you have been without work for way longer than anyone expected, and I wish we had a record-setting year, every year. But the truth is that the boom we’ve experienced since 2007 lasted ten years longer than anyone ever expected. With that being said, the work outlook is still strong. But be cautious, our enemies against pipelines are many, and we must continue to push our agenda utilizing the Action Network.  

As always, I am proud to say, “I work for you, the greatest pipeliners in the world.” 

Fraternally,

Daniel C. Hendrix

Business Manager

 

MORE 798 STORIES

  • Blue Light Report - May / June 2020
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would first like to say, “Tough times never last. But tough people do.” Pipeliners are some of the toughest and most resilient folks, but we are definitely being tested. We already had many enemies to battle, such as cheap nonunion contractors, biased judges, and extreme environmental protesters.
  • Blue Light Report 2 - May / June 2020
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, I hope this report finds our Local 798 family safe and healthy. By now, the COVID-19 pandemic has reached almost every county and parish in the United States. I don’t know that anyone could have forecasted that this virus would sweep through our country with such intensity.
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