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 hope this report finds everyone doing well. It has been a fantastic year for Pipeliners with plenty of work and man-hours logged. The work outlook remains strong, and that’s very encouraging.
As most of you know, we experienced a temporary shut down on the Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast projects. The good news is that these projects were allowed to resume. This success is a direct result of your participation in our Action Network. Everyone who signed these petitions is commended. Many times, people with good intentions fail to act until they are affected directly. But here in Local 798, we are family and what affects one member affects all members. If a job your Brother or Sister is on is shut down, it affects us all. Don’t wait until it's your job, act now. When we joined we pledged to assist all members and the interest of this Local Union, so we have a moral obligation to do whatever is necessary to further our agenda. We have 8,000+ members, and each one needs to have their name on the Action Network. Surely each one can sign up a family member or friend. When our jobs are threatened, and we can send 16,000+ voices, someone must listen. That’s our goal; please sign the petitions and have others sign them. Your job depends on it.
The last couple months have been busy for me. I attended the COGA Energy Summit in Denver, CO, then I was back home for a change of clothes and then to Tulsa for our Regular Membership Meeting and staff meeting. For those of you who weren't in attendance, our membership is up, our finances are at an all-time high, and man-hours worked are comparable to last year. The big news was we received another pension increase. My hat goes off to Business Manager Danny Hendrix and Financial Secretary-Treasurer Justin Wallace. They never stop working for us and moving this Local Union forward in a positive way to benefit all members, both active and retired. After the meeting, we were directed to the 2018 UA Officers Seminar which is always very informative and educational. The UA is in good hands under the leadership of General President Mark McManus.
The work in the Permian Basin continues strong, but you can’t say the same about wages. This area continues to offer the lowest wages and highest living expenses in the nation. Non-union contractors are making millions daily while workers struggle to pay their bills. This is unacceptable, and it puzzles me why Pipeliners there do not stand up and demand a decent wage. I watched a video on Facebook by a young man trying to explain to these workers how they are being taken advantage of and the need to band together for a common cause. I couldn’t agree with him more; he spoke the truth plain and simple. Although many agreed with him, it was disturbing to see how many could come up with an excuse of why it couldn’t be done. To those working in West Texas, remember when that boom is over the millionaires will still be millionaires and you will be sent on your way to fend for yourself; after you have worn out your equipment for pennies on the dollar. Just remember what happened in the Eagle Ford Shale when all that work was done for nothing. A quote from Dale Carnegie comes to mind, “Inaction breeds doubt and fear, action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” These contractors are not going to pay you what you're worth, because they want you broke and to need a job. They want you dependent on them because that way you can be controlled. You must band together; direct action is your only hope.
There is already a path to prosperity and protection in this industry, and that path leads straight to Pipeliners Local Union 798. I was organized as a Welder 37 years ago this year into 798. It continues to be the best career move I ever made and will be for you and your family as well. We are your friends; those non-union contractors are not. It should be clear how we must stand together and protect our wages and conditions. Join with us in organizing these contractors, if not what you will witness is the destruction of an entire industry. Don’t think of excuses why it can’t be done. Do not remain silent. Stand up and act now because now is the time, not later. You hold in your hand a perfect opportunity to better your life and that of your family. You have the key, use it. They will pay the money; they will treat you with respect, and it's up to you to take that step forward. I will help you and show you how to achieve this goal. It can be done, and it will be done with your help.
Thanksgiving and Christmas are just around the corner, and I wish everyone the best through the holidays. Work safely, be productive and always produce the highest quality product that money can buy. That is what makes us the best the world has to offer. If I can be of any help, please give me a call. If no answer, please leave a message because sometimes in certain areas my phone doesn’t show a missed call.
Ronnie M. Hill
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.