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 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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. 7,017’ of 6” HDD for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Heath Beckstrom. Welder Foreman: Cody Cooper. Steward: Andy Bacon.
- Sioux City, IA. 2,300’ of 16” HDD for Mid America. Superintendent: Andrew Jeske. Welder Foreman: Levi Bottelson. Steward: Donavan Quam.
- Ogden, IA. Station Upgrade for Northern Natural Gas. Superintendent: Ryan Kramarsic. Welder Foreman: David Pawloski. Steward: Guy Simms.
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.