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!
I will start by giving an update on MVP and ACP. I currently have eight of nine MVP spreads pre-jobbed. Spread G in Blacksburg, Virginia, has not yet pre-jobbed and looks to be the last to do so. Hiring on the MVP has been a slow process, and the client has a major say about when to hire and how many to hire.
Over the last couple of years, we became accustomed to having full employment, and work was more than plentiful. This year has been different.
ACP was supposed to be going on right now as we speak. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, heard both sides of the argument regarding the reexamination of the U.S. Forest Service, Appalachian Trail Crossing and Fish and Wildlife permits on May 9. Hopefully, the Fourth Circuit Court will agree that the permits have now been studied enough to satisfy their concerns about the permits being rushed in the beginning. There could be a Fourth Circuit Court ACP ruling in August.
In the meantime, we are fortunate to have sister locals reaching out to us while we are waiting on permits. There is plenty of Building Trades work available to Welders, Journeymen and occasionally Helpers if a member is willing to work it. Things are different on the Building Trades side, but sometimes in life, we must do things that we don’t necessarily want to do to feed our family. I feel that we are blessed to have this type of work. I received calls all winter from members asking about the work and didn’t have any work to speak of. At least we currently have an alternative that provides good wages, pension hours, healthcare and sure as hell beats working non-union.
We have to stop and think about the big picture sometimes. Union membership is not all about you and serving your personal needs. At times we must do what’s good for the whole. If you are working non-union with a book in your pocket, you are hurting the whole by making the competition better. I had a couple of folks recently call me to ask what they needed to do to resign their book. I hate calls like this, but I’d much rather get a resignation call than I would get a call that lets me know someone is sneaking around working non-union. Those that built this Local were off work for long periods, and some lost everything, but ask them if they ever considered working non-union and many will say it never entered their mind. That type of dedication and selflessness has kept this Local going and will continue to keep the Local going for many years to come. If we ever lose our dedication, principles, and strong work ethic, we could fail as a Local. It’s up to us to do the right thing now and in the future.
-Glen Dale, WV. 3,000’ of 12” new lay. Superintendent: Jason Bowe. Welder Foreman: Charlie Beddingfield. Mainline rates with Special Agreement fringes. Working 5-10s.
Contractors Rental Corp.:
-Huntington, WV. 30” and 8” Integrity Maintenance hydro testing. Superintendent: Tyler Gandee. Welder Foreman: Westlee White (LU 601). Mainline rates. Working 5-10s and an 8.
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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.
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.
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.