I want to thank everyone for their calls and letters of condolences concerning my father, Doyle Hendrix, on his passing. I was truly blessed to have him for 82 years and to have him as a mentor my whole life. His face and voice will be with me for as long as I live. I am grateful for that and grateful for the outpouring of sympathy from the membership.
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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I want to start by thanking every member that is doing their part to make the Action Network a success. We’ve had several opportunities lately to take action with the Cheyenne Connector Project, the Northeast Supply Enhancement, Jordan Cove Project, the Line 5 Project, and the Line 3 Project.
The current number of members on the out-of-work list is as follows: Welders – 1,287; Journeyman – 207; and Helpers – 1,655. The out-of-work numbers do not reflect the members who are working building trades and still on the out-of-work list.
401(k) Plan We frequently are asked about taking a loan against a member’s 401(k) balance. The Pipeline Industry 401(k) Plan does not allow participant loans. 401(k) loan repayment must be set up as a deduction from payroll. Due to the nature of the construction industry, working for different contractors for various time frames doesn’t allow for consistent repayment of the loan, which would cause the loan to be in default.