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Blue Light Report - September / October 2019

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.

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Blue Light Report Organizer Update - September / October 2019

I hope this report finds everyone doing well. Its hot and dusty in this part of the country, but it has been this way this time of the year for as long as I can remember.

Its good to see we have picked up several jobs in Texas and other areas on the western side this summer. Some of our contractors have taken advantage of the Market Recovery Agreement, and it has helped them compete against the nonunion sector in these areas. We certainly need to make sure we man all our work, and never forget that Local 798 always has and always will adhere to the motto of ‘’a day’s work for a day’s pay.’’ Our quality of work and production is second to none anywhere in the world, and that is something to be very proud of.  

It’s truly a blessing that there is so much building trades work and sister locals that are willing to use our skills when we have so much work shut down by the radical environmentalists. Everyone should take advantage of this opportunity, and always remember that we are guests in another local’s house. Some of this work is not what we are accustomed to, but it offers good union jobs with benefits.  And we need to help our sister locals man their work and show the clients that the UA has the best labor force in this country.  

Labor has come a long way since the early years when this country was first organized. There was a time when entire families would go into the mills as soon as they had enough body strength to earn a penny, and they never came out until they died. Always looming was the potential humiliation of living one’s older years as a pauper, supported by the church or public assistance. But these people had the strength to stand up and say enough is enough. They stood in solidarity against the wrongs that were inflicted against them and became one strong voice. The hard times these people endured didn’t weaken them or leave them with a sense of defeat. It made them stronger and more determined.  

Its amazing how hardship can make people stronger and better for it. My grandparents always lived way below their means due to the experiences they had endured during the great depression. It always boggled my mind how anything could affect someone for so many years afterward. Then I got a small taste of what they had endured; nothing comparable to the hardships they went through but something that would affect me for the rest of my life as well and give me a better understanding of what was in their mind. 

The bottom fell out of the oil industry in the early 80s; work was nonexistent. I stayed on the out-of-work list for 33 months. I endured many hardships, but never once did I ever consider turning from the union. These hardships did not weaken me; they strengthened me and gave me the determination to see it through. It made me appreciate what we had achieved and what we gained even through lean times. When the bottom fell out, nonunion wages plummeted overnight by double digits. There was no work, so we implemented the Special Agreement to help our contractors acquire some jobs, and it helped. The best part is although work was scarce, we continued to get raises on the National Pipeline Agreement. When we finally came out of that valley, we had not gone backward like the nonunion, but forward. The nonunion side continued to wallow in the meager wages and nonexistent working conditions they were forced to receive. We, as Local 798 members, endured, sacrificed, and stood side by side, never faltering. By doing so, we emerged much stronger than we were when we entered that dark time. We exhibited total solidarity, and we are better for it.  

In a time when organized labor and union jobs are under attack daily, the need for solidarity has never been more urgent. Our strength is in our unity.  The only thing that has ever come out of division is defeat and nothing more. Our foes would like nothing more than to see us divided because divided, we weaken and eventually fall. Sue Carney of the APW said it best, “At the core, labor unions are working men and women, unified as one force. Despite any personal differences that may exist between us, we have banded together to protect and improve the lives of workers. We rise together for the greater good. We defend one another like family.” We are family, there is no doubt about that, and we are going to stand as one against whatever may come our way.  

Now is the time to aggressively protect our work from radicals who would end the oil and gas industry as we know it and our very livelihood. Please join us in our petitions, letters, meetings and whatever may be asked of us. Its our duty to stand together as one and show our enemies that we are a force to be reckoned with.  

It’s a great honor to belong to and serve in such an organization that has displayed such unity in the good times and the bad. This organization is truly a family and showcases the very essence of solidarity. Those who resist the call to organize or jump ship certainly are lacking the spirit of brotherhood.  

Brothers and Sisters, if you have any information that will help in our efforts, please call anytime. There is work in the building trades; working nonunion is not an option. If you know anyone who has turned to this, please talk to them. Explain how their actions are destroying everything we have worked for and everything those before us worked for. Ask them to do the right thing and stop supporting the side that is trying to destroy us. If they refuse to listen to reason, then the appropriate actions should be taken through our Executive Board. My phone is always on. Please report these actions because all it does is weaken us, and they are helping a rat contractor to compete against us. 

Wishing everyone a good and prosperous summer and hopefully see many of you at the next meeting.   

Fraternally, 

Ronnie M. Hill 

(918) 284-6862 

MORE 798 STORIES

  • Blue Light Report - September / October 2019
    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.
  • Blue Light Report 2 - September / October 2019
    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.
  • Blue Light Report Dispatch - September / October 2019
    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.
  • Blue Light Report Benefits Update - September / October 2019
    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.