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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 Midwest - March / April 2019

I write this Blue Light report from the Oklahoma City area where the organizers and I have been investigating the non-union contractors that keep the work in Oklahoma. I’ve had some opportunities to get some of our fair contractors on some of the gas companies bid lists but without much success getting any work.

Our union contractors can’t compete on this work even using the Special Agreement or Low Scale rates to bid. The non-union contractors use our wage rates with a few dollars off per hour; subtract all the Fringe Benefit rates and pay $100 per day per diem on seven days. Our contractors can’t compete in a market where this happens. A lot of 798 welders are working on these non-union jobs, and you will have charges filed on you when you’re found. You’re not only cheating this Local and your Brothers and Sisters by helping these contractors get bigger and stronger, but you are cheating yourself and your family out of decent wages and health and welfare benefits. If you don’t want to be part of this Union, mail your Union card and a letter of resignation to the Business Manager in Tulsa.

This year will be another great year for 798 members. The Keystone XL should be online sometime around June. I know inspectors that are in MT, SD, and NE now, finishing up the Man Camps, RV Parks, and Pipe Yards they started construction on last year for this project. I’ve been working on permits for the Keystone XL for the last ten years, and I truly believe it will be laid in 2019 and 2020. Thanks to the leaders of this Local and the UA Pipeline Department, 798 has a PLA (Project Labor Agreement) on the 36-inch main line and all the pump stations.

The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement should be permitted sometime in 2019. There are still some hurdles to get over before this job is permitted, but I am very optimistic for a late 2019 start.

I want to congratulate Chad Gilbert on his appointment to the UA Pipeline Department. This is a giant step for Local 798 and its future. Chad will be missed but not forgotten. Congratulations to Justin Head for being appointed to replace Chad as Business Agent in the western states. In my opinion, Justin was the right guy for the job, and I look forward to working with him in the future.

Don’t forget the 2019 Steward School starting the second week in April. As always it will be a good time for you and your family. If you have any questions or concerns about our National Pipeline Agreement, make a list of questions and put it on the floor for discussion so everyone can get on the same page.

Here’s hoping everyone will have a great year. Don’t forget, United We Stand, and Divided We Fall.