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Blue Light Report - January / February 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

I hope everyone had a great holiday season and a Merry Christmas. As seasons go, to me, winter is a time for reflection and a time to prepare for the upcoming spring and summer.

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Blue Light Report 2 - March / April 2019

We recently held our regular January Membership Meeting here in Tulsa, and I am proud to say that we had well over 300 members in attendance.  This was a great turnout for January, with many entering their Union Hall in Tulsa for the very first time. It’s always good to see so many members come to take part in the direction of this Local Union.

One thing that always stands out to me is the number of retirees that turn out for membership meetings.  These guys are the backbone of Local 798 and lived through some of the toughest years in the pipeline industry.

 Anyone who attends membership meetings or reads the Blue Light Reports regularly, knows that advocacy has been front and center for the last couple of years.  A FERC comment period recently surfaced for Dominion’s West Loop Project in PA and Ohio, with a very short window to submit comments.   Business Manager Danny Hendrix announced at the Friday night membership meeting that the action would be available the next day and urged everyone to take part and share the information.  I am proud to report that, even though this action was only available on the Local 798 Action Network over a two-day period, we had 3,700 comments submitted and delivered to FERC in support of this project.  Construction of this project is planned for 2020-2021, and Local 798 members have shown the client that we are being proactive by getting out front and fighting for this future work.  Thank you to each one of you that are making this a priority. 

I want to share some information about our 401(k) plan with you that you might find of interest.  Today the market value of Local 798 members’ 401(k) plan stands at $291.2 million. It is amazing how fast this fund had grown since June of 2014, which is when the contractor contribution first began.  The market value of the fund at that time was just a little over $40 million. Now, we have well over 700 members with individual 401(k) account balances between $100K - $500K. If you watch your 401(k) balance closely, it is easy to get discouraged with the way the market has been swinging the last few months. The balance will rise and fall, but what’s important to remember is that the average rate of return in 401(k) accounts over the last 20 years is around 7%.  When the market is volatile, try to remember that you are in this for the long haul and stay the course.   If you read many articles about retirement and savings, one thing that is a common theme is that you can never have too much money saved for retirement. Our 401(k) plan, combined with our defined benefit pension plan, ensures that Local 798 members will retire with dignity. With this as just one of the many benefits of belonging to such a great organization, why would anyone want to do the work that we do for less? 

It’s just about time for Steward School!  Please register ahead of time so we can plan accordingly.  The 20th Annual Charity Golf Tournament, benefitting the George Lambert/Harry Faucett, Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund, will be held on Monday, April 8, 2019, at Forest Ridge Golf Course in Broken Arrow, OK.  If you are interested in playing in the tournament, you can register as a team, or if you register individually, you will be placed on a team.  This is always a fun tournament, and it is for a great cause.  The Steward Reporting Computer Class will be held on Tuesday, April 9th, at the Local 798 Training Center, immediately following the Lincoln Electric BBQ. If you’ve never been, or haven’t been in recent years, a few of the highlights are the Retiree Banquet on Thursday evening, the Ladies of 798 Basket Auction on Wednesday evening, the Miller Electric Crawfish Boil, and the Slick Rig Contest. The Steward School session, where we go over the National Pipeline Agreement in its entirety, starts Wednesday, April 10th and continues through noon on Friday, April 12th at the Renaissance Hotel.  The week wraps up with our April Regular Membership Meeting on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.  Please join us!

If there is ever anything I can help with, please don’t hesitate to call.  As always, I am proud to serve the membership of Pipeliners Local Union 798.


Justin Wallace

Financial Secretary-Treasurer