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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 - November / December 2019

2019 is rapidly coming to a close. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we must be prepared to fight for every mile of pipeline that we get to lay.

There has been some good news recently on permits with a few projects. The Constitution Pipeline is 125 miles of 30” that had initially been granted the necessary FERC permit in 2014. However, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation then denied the project’s Section 401 Water Quality Certification. In August of this year, FERC found that the NYSDEC failed to act in a timely manner. This puts the Constitution Pipeline back into play. Also, FERC approved the Tallgrass Cheyenne Connector Pipeline on September 19. The project was approved with a 2-1 vote, with the two Republicans voting in favor, and the lone Democrat voting against. This is the approximately 70 miles of 36” that Hanging H is set to do around Greeley, Colorado. 

Precision Pipeline has begun work on the 88.5 miles of 24” near Hico, Texas, for Energy Transfer. This job was secured using the Market Recovery package. Price Gregory has also started construction on 19.2 miles of 20” near Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, that was also picked up with the Market Recovery. It is exciting to see our union contractors getting back into these markets that our nonunion competitors have had the lion’s share of while we’ve been busy on the big projects. The Line 3 Replacement project received good news in September from the Minnesota Supreme Court. The Court denied the petitions for reconsideration of the project’s Environmental Impact Study. The Public Utilities Commission then unanimously voted to ask the Commerce Department to conduct further analysis and report back within 60 days. This fight is not over, but progress is being made.  Any time there are public meetings with these commissions, we have representation there. Thank you to all of you that answer the call when we ask for a turnout at these important meetings. Our Business Agents and Organizers always attend these public meetings, and I can tell you that they are always relieved when the membership turns out for support. It makes getting up and speaking on behalf of these projects a little easier with friendly faces in the room.  It also shows the voting members of these commissions that we are just as engaged and passionate as the people who want to stop these projects. We’ve got to keep advocating, and I am grateful that our membership is all in. 

Approximately 170 Local 798 members attended the September Membership Meeting. The union hall is where you get to hear the reports of the committees, appropriations of money, and business of Pipeliners Local Union 798. This is where we do business, NOT on social media! As I reported at the membership meeting, Local 798’s finances continue to be in great shape. The cost basis of the Local 798 General Fund on August 31, 2019, was over $123.5 million, and the cost basis of the Pipeliners Voluntary Fund was just over $5 million. The pension, health and welfare, and 401(k) funds also continue to be in fantastic shape. As of July 31, 2019, the Pension Fund stood at $1.284 billion, and the Health and Welfare Fund was at $72 million. Today, the Pipeliners 401(k) Fund has a market value of $319.3 million. Business Manager Danny Hendrix also reported the pension raises that were approved by the Board of Trustees. Retirees’ pensions and active members’ accrual rates have come a long way in the last several years. We are truly blessed in this regard.   

As everyone is probably aware, this is an election year for Pipeliners Local 798.  Ballots were mailed to all eligible Local 798 members on Wednesday, October 23, 2019.  To be eligible to vote, you must be a member of the United Association and Local 798 in good standing for at least one year immediately prior to the date of the election (October 16, 2019).  Any member who owes or has paid a reinstatement fee within one year immediately prior to the date of the election shall not be eligible to vote. There is an Election Notice posted on the website that you can refer to for all details pertaining to the election. If you are an eligible voter, take advantage of that fact and participate in the direction of your local union.   

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


Justin Wallace 

Financial Secretary-Treasurer