Do you remember the first time you stepped onto the ROW to work for Local 798? Maybe it was your first job, or maybe you came from the non-union side with a leap of faith to better yourself. Either way, it can be a little intimidating to say the least. All of us, no mater how young or old, remember that first day. We also remember the people who reached out to us to help us feel like we were in the right place, and everything was going to be ok.
I mention this because our family, our union, has been steadily growing and will continue to do so into the future. If you have been in this family, reach out with a kind word and a handshake to welcome your new Brothers and Sisters. Let them know that you are proud they made the decision to join our unionized pipeline family. You will never get a better chance at making a new friend than at that moment. We should never judge a person on his or her past journey, but we should value that they have decided to become one of us, a 798er.
I have visited with many members over the last 12 years that got their start on the non-union side. They have witnessed and worked under sub-standard wages and conditions with no benefits or representation. They appreciate the value of unionism, more so than most, because they now are the union! The union is not just a building in Tulsa, it’s a way of life. Remember every day, that You Are the Union!
With so many new workers joining, I want to impress upon all our family that we have an obligation as a union member, and as a human being, to teach and counsel the new members of our family. We all become stronger when we communicate our concerns with one another, working as a team to present the best value to our contractors.
We currently are wide open as far as the work season is concerned. Some of the larger projects, such as Atlantic Coast with 600 miles of 42”-30”, haven’t even started yet. We have been blessed for many years now, and it looks like it will continue for some time to come. For the last several years, our work has been primarily in the Northeast, and mostly small to medium diameters. This year will be much different for some of you. Laying large diameters in the mountains multiplies exponentially the dangers of our jobs on the ROW. To my knowledge, no one has ever laid 42” in the topography that we are about to encounter. Pipelining is always dangerous work because of the pipe and machinery. But I believe this year and next will challenge even the most seasoned pipeliner. I caution all of you to be alert—eyes and ears wide open—for the safety of yourself and your crew members. The life you save may be your own!
Last, but not least, if you enjoy the great benefits of the Union, such as healthcare, pension, 401(k), training and a structured workforce, please take just a few minutes every morning to thank the good Lord for your many blessings. Then pick up your phone and go to the Local 798 Action Page to advocate for your future. Use your voice to collectively tell the nation they need this energy infrastructure built by the best—Local 798!
As always, I am proud to say, “I work for you, the finest pipeliners in the world.”
Daniel C. Hendrix
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I struggle with my words today to communicate the value of your work and advocacy going forward. We have been blessed abundantly for the last ten years, and the work outlook remains robust, but there are demons at our door.
Work is in full swing, and it is an amazing time to be a Local 798 Pipeliner! Looking at man-hours, we are pretty much even with where we were by this time last year. If you are working on one of our larger projects, you’ve probably noticed a Local 798 Action Network banner hanging in your warehouse location.
If you have a job, hang onto it! It appears we have reached the point where most of our large projects are nearly fully manned. I believe we will have work through the fall of this year. However, it will not be at the rate we have experienced this summer.
We are well into the work season and as you are aware, it is great. We have jobs going in almost all parts of the country and still have jobs waiting to start. The work in KY is picking up as well.