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Blue Light Report - November / December 2019

As PIBF Co-Chairman, I am proud to announce an accrual increase for the Welders, Journeymen, and Helpers. The Journeymen rate increased from $205 to $220, and the Helpers increased from $136 to $146 per credit. Additionally, retired members will enjoy a five percent increase in their monthly amount. After the pension raises were calculated, the fund is still at 110.8 percent!

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Blue Light Report Midwest - November / December 2019

I write this Blue Light report after returning from a hearing at the Minnesota State Senate Building in St. Paul, Minnesota about the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement Project. The Minnesota Public Utility Commission voted unanimously to include the Superior Lake Watershed into the Environmental Impact Study for the next 60 days. This was a decision by the PUC that puts the Line 3 closer to construction, providing many jobs that our members need so badly.

Supporters outnumbered the opposition 10 to 1. Organized labor was well represented by all four crafts along with the group, Jobs for Minnesotans. There were also some contractor representatives lined up outside the State Senate Building several hours before the doors were open to the public. Thank you to the 798 members that took the time to show up in support of this battle for the jobs Line 3 will create. It makes a significant impact on the decisions the Minnesota Public Utility Commissioners make when the room is filled with unemployed pipeline workers. After the Minnesota Supreme Court rejected the protesters’ request to stop this pipeline this past summer, we’re getting closer to kickoff. The sad part of this battle is the fact that the opposition is not just fighting against this pipeline; they are against all pipelines. I can’t imagine what life would be without pipelines for our everyday life. 

The Integrity Maintenance work in my area is still going strong, with around 54 jobs currently underway since the first of October. Like I say in every Blue Light Report, these are good jobs that don’t have more than one to four Welders and Helpers employed for three to six weeks. The Welders that do this work have to be well rounded and have to have in-service Low Hydrogen welding skills. You also must be able to fabricate from a blueprint and take field measurements. You will be required to fabricate, hydro or nitrogen test, weld stopples on the hot line, complete the tie in, and do bolt up and torque. This type of work is not for everybody, but the ones that do it may work on four or five different jobs per year but tend to stay busy.     

It seems like every time I make a prediction for starting construction on these big projects, like the Line 3 and the Keystone XL, the environmentalists and the politicians shoot the permits down. So, I will say I expect these two projects to have our members working in 2020. If it doesn’t come true, it will not be the fault of your Business Manager or the officers of this great Local Union 798. Contrary to the thoughts on social media that accuse this current administration of being responsible for their own shortcomings. It will be the politicians that take your jobs away from you and your family. So, make good choices when voting for 798 leadership and the leadership of our country. 

This membership needs to pull together to survive what the future will bring to this local and this country. So never forget, United We Stand, Divided We Fall. 

Pre-Jobs: 

Intercon Construction, Inc.: 

- Johnson, NE.  4.4 miles of 6” & 2.2 Miles of 4” for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Brandon Duffy.  Welder Foreman: Patrick Welder. Steward: John Whitten. 

- Kanopolis, KS. 24 Integrity Digs for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Carl Bubolz. Welder Foreman:  George Kingsland. Steward:  Clyde Smith, Jr. 

Michels Pipeline: 

- Nickerson, NE. Farm Tap Relocates for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Mike Westley. Welder Foreman:  Isaiah Hamilton. Steward: Jackie Drywater. 

Minnesota Limited, Inc.: 

- Cunningham, KS. Replace Bullet Tanks and Piping for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Jason Sanders.  Welder Foreman: Joshua Setzer. Steward: Zack Holmen. 

- Earlville, IA. Station Upgrade for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Jason Sanders. Welder Foreman: Carl Jurgansen. Steward: Brian Straight. 

Charps, LLC: 

- Emerson, NE.  2 Miles of 6” for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Brandon Olson. Welder Foreman:  Steven Downer. Steward: Thomas Langley. 

- Hibbing, MN. TBS Demo and Rebuild for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Matt Sandland. Welder Foreman: Richard Chancey. Steward: Shane Kramer.  

United Piping, Inc.: 

- Spirit Lake, IA. 7,017of 6” HDD for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Heath Beckstrom. Welder Foreman:  Cody Cooper. Steward: Andy Bacon. 

Q3 Contracting: 

- Sioux City, IA. 2,300 of 16” HDD for Mid America. Superintendent: Andrew Jeske. Welder Foreman: Levi Bottelson. Steward: Donavan Quam. 

Midwestern Contractors: 

- Ogden, IA.  Station Upgrade for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Ryan Kramarsic. Welder Foreman:  David Pawloski. Steward: Guy Simms. 

 

MORE 798 STORIES

  • Blue Light Report - November / December 2019
    As PIBF Co-Chairman, I am proud to announce an accrual increase for the Welders, Journeymen, and Helpers. The Journeymen rate increased from $205 to $220, and the Helpers increased from $136 to $146 per credit. Additionally, retired members will enjoy a five percent increase in their monthly amount. After the pension raises were calculated, the fund is still at 110.8 percent! 
  • 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.
  • Blue Light Report Dispatch - November / December 2019
    I have been looking back over past Blue Light reports from 1974 to 1976, and I have found some very interesting information. I could copy and paste some of the 1974 reports, and you would not be able to tell the difference. The irony is unbelievable.
  • Blue Light Report Organizer Update - November / December 2019
    I hope this report finds everyone doing well. It was nice visiting with members during the September meeting, where we had nominations for officers for the upcoming election. I would like to congratulate all the candidates and wish each of you good luck in your endeavors. There is no greater honor than serving the members of this great local union.