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.
I write this Blue Light Report the week after the 2019 Steward School. This year we had one of the largest groups in many years with a lot of new members attending for the first time.
To me the highlight of the week was the Thursday night retiree banquet for 50-year and over members that worked hard and sacrificed to put this Local together and make it what it is today. I had a lot of new members come to me with comments that they never dreamed of a group of welders, journeymen, and helpers that could stick together and work as a family. This is a family that needs to work together to keep this Local going forward for many years, so our younger generation can enjoy a decent retirement with health care and pension benefits like the ones that came before us. What a great Local Union you are a member of, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to help sustain the forward motion by working hard every day you’re on the job so you can be a proud 50-year member someday.
The work outlook in my area is same as last year with Maintenance Integrity work being my main workload, with Northern Natural Gas, Enbridge, Flint Hills, Black Hills, Marathon, Buckeye, Excel Energy, Center Point, TransCanada, and MERC. I pre-jobbed over 120 jobs last year with these clients, and I expect to do the same or more this year. I want to remind the welders that all these clients require in-service weld testing with 12” open butt low-hydrogen bell hole, and multiple 12” branches of various wall thicknesses as well as the sleeve test. These maintenance jobs don’t put a lot of hands to work, but they are good jobs that seem to keep going all season. The larger projects in my area are still held up with permit problems that we seem to face every day. The Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project has a start date of January 1, 2020. There is a possibility of Station and Swamp Work starting late this fall.
The other big job is the Keystone XL Pipeline that was on track for late spring or early summer but has hit a snag from the federal judge in Montana that filed an injunction to stop construction on the Man Camps and RV Parks along the pipeline route. On March 29th, President Trump issued a Presidential Permit authorizing TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline to construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the International Boundary between the United States and Canada. This signed permit was not the magic wand to solve this situation with the federal judge in Montana, but it was another step closer to construction. Just so you know, the federal judge involved is against all pipeline construction, and is steered and funded by the environmental groups we fight every day for our jobs. This judge was appointed by Barack Obama before he left office, the same as the federal judge that filed the injunction and stopped construction on the Mountain Valley Pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia last year. Keep that in mind come election time.
Your Local needs your help advocating for your jobs. Please get involved with the Action Network to help outnumber these environmental groups that are against everything we stand for to make a living for our families.
Thanks to Danny Hendrix, Justin Wallace, Farron Hollabaugh, Josalyn Johnson and their staffs that worked hard to put the Steward School together for this membership. Also, thanks to Shannon Jackson and his Inside Guards, for doing an outstanding job as always. And a big thank you to the vendors that bless this Local with their support, not just during Steward School, but all year long.
The UA Pipeline Department was well represented by Director David Barnett and Special Representatives Chad Gilbert and Mike Mikich. UA Counsel Ellen Boardman and Beth Worrell, lead counsel of the PLCA, provided a smooth understanding of the NPLA.
I hope to see you in the field soon. Never forget, United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
- Kanopolis, KS. 15 miles of 26” Integrity Digs, pipe cutouts, and Hydro Test for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Jimmy “Cowboy” Williams. Welder Foreman: Brandon Olson. Working 6-10s. Approx. completion: 10 weeks.
- Billings, MT. 5 miles of 12” for Northwestern Energy. Superintendent: John Whitten. Welder Foreman: Todd Valentine (LU 246). 90% scale. Working 6-10s. Approx. completion: 4 months.
- Lehigh, IA. Creek Replacement for Flint Hills. Superintendent: Todd Hartle. Welder Foreman: Kevin Marlett. High Scale. Working 6-10s. Approx. completion: 4 weeks.
- Peosta, IA. 2-miles of 16” take up and relay for Black Hills. Superintendent: Bradley Mudd. Welder Foreman: Brian Foster. High Scale. Working 6-10’s. Approx. completion: 5 months.
- Cedar Rapids, IA. Blanket Work for Mid America, ongoing. Superintendent/Welder Foreman: Marty Campbell. Low Scale. Working 5-10s.
- Missoula, MT. 16” and Under Integrity Digs for Phillips 66, On Going Blanket. 90% Scale. Superintendent/Welder Foreman: Wayne Petz.
- Little Canada, MN. Blanket call out work for Excel Energy. Superintendent: Mitch Mincoff. Welder Foreman: Michael Langley. High Scale. Working 5-8s. Approx. completion: 3 months.
MORE 798 STORIES
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.
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.
There is no way to describe the times in which we are living. We are walking through a situation that no one has dealt with before us. However, we do have work starting. Gas companies and contractors are proceeding with extreme caution.
Virtual Medical Visit option available May 1st PIBF will be launching the MDLIVE program on May 1, 2020. This is a virtual medical visit program offered by BlueCross BlueShield for active and COBRA participants and for participants where PIBF is the primary coverage.