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 am writing this report after returning from the Denver area on an organizing trip. I spoke with some of the contractors in the area, and the first thing I asked was whether they are getting qualified help on their projects. It is amazing to me that they always say they have great Welders and plenty of them when I know the exact repair rates before asking the question.
It is hard for a fair contractor to be looked at fairly when the gas companies don’t seem to value quality in the midstream markets. I have a feeling that this is going to come back to bite these companies. I am also aware that we still have members working for nonunion contractors in Colorado and Wyoming. This is still unacceptable. I have sent several members to other local unions. As everyone knows, there is a cracker plant hiring 100 people per week, and our sister locals need help handling their work as well. If you feel the need to work nonunion in my jurisdiction, don’t assume you will get a pass, especially if you have already been caught once. Nonunion Welders do not want us on their jobs and will quickly turn you in.
To give an update on the work, we are still waiting on a notice to proceed for the Cheyenne Connector Project. I cannot confirm, but there is a possibility that all the requirements for approval may not have been met at the time of the last FERC meeting. FERC does not meet again until September 19. Hopefully, we will get a favorable decision at that point, which would put the work starting in October. I am still pre-jobbing smaller Integrity Maintenance work, and that has been going well. As long as we keep performing above the standards of the nonunion, I can see more of this type of work in the future. We also just finished up a job for Questar Dominion, and they couldn’t have been happier with the product they received. As a direct result, Hanging H was almost directly awarded some anomaly digs in Wyoming. By the time you receive this report, Intercon should be wrapping up in Wyoming. I want to thank the hands on that job that showed up and performed at a high level. They were able to lay the pipe out and finish under a quarter percent repair rate. That is what we are going to have to continue to do to give our fair contractors a shot at bidding the work. I am confident it is going to pay off.
On another subject, I would like to give Brother Gary Arnold, Business Manager, of Local 208 in Denver some credit for his political accomplishments. There are numerous ways to advance our work, legislation is one of the most effective. I thank Gary and the guys at Local 208 for what they do for the advancement of our industry. They have done a great job making sure they meet 798’s needs as well as their own.
I want to give a short breakdown of what passed in the last legislative session. Some of it does not go into effect until 2021, but it is going to give our fair contractors an edge on future work.
Senate Bill 181 - Oil and Gas Regulation: They negotiated worker certification requirements into the bill and now all workers installing flowlines will be required to possess the following certifications and/or meet the same requirements.
Certifications: Welders will need to be certified in either ASME Section 9 and/or API 1104. All production welds will be non-destructively tested in accordance with PHMSA standards regardless of line size (current PHMSA standards allow for visual inspection on all lines 6' or smaller, this will not apply to CO flowlines). They must also possess a current OSHA-10 Hour certification including confined space entry training, hazardous material handling training, a minimum of 7,000 hours of documented on-the-job-training or working under the direct supervision of a worker that meets this requirement, and pass the ICC F31 National Standard Journeyman Mechanical License Exam.
They also negotiated language to address industry concerns including that COGCC and County/Municipal regulations needing to be "reasonable.” In addition, the new emission mandates will require oil & gas operators to utilize pipelines in place of trucks or rail.
Senate Bill 196 - State Prevailing Wage and Apprenticeship Utilization: They reestablished prevailing state wages based on the federal Davis-Bacon rates for all state projects $500,000 or more. Colorado hasn't had prevailing state wages in almost 40 years, and no state in the country has passed state prevailing wages in 15 years. All mechanical, electrical, and plumbing contractors performing state projects will be required to utilize a Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship, registered apprenticeship program with a proven graduation rate of 15% or higher. This will increase to 20% in five years and to 30% in another five years.
Senate Bill 236 - Public Utilities Commission Sunset: Negotiated additional, Best Value Employment Metrics for Power Generation Projects. All bidders on new power generation projects will be required to provide standard metric reports outlining; workers receiving industry-standard wages, health & retirement benefits, and bona fide training opportunities (DOL, OA, registered apprenticeship programs). If a bidder fails to submit proper documentation, their bid will be invalidated or rejected from consideration. This will force the independent power producers and renewable companies to compete on a level playing field allowing natural gas power generation projects a better chance to compete.
Thanks again to Gary for what he has done for the advancement of the UA. No matter what your political affiliation, you must realize legislation of this measure does not happen if we do not have help from our senators and governors. This only proves that there are still friends of labor in high ranking positions.
In closing, if I can be of any assistance, please don’t hesitate to call. As always, work safe and work union.
- Keenesburg, CO. and Douglas, WY. Three valve replacements for Magellan. Superintendent: Steve Knight. Welder Foreman: Chris Jost. Station Agreement paying 90% rates. Working 5-10s. Approx. completion 9-11-19.
- Kemmerer, WY. Kern River Gas, 1,100’ of 36” and various fabrication. Superintendent: Steve Knight. Welder Foreman: Chris Mahaffey. Station Agreement at 90% rates. Working 5-10s. Approx. completion 9-15-19.
- Buffalo, WY. 70 miles of 12” and 16” abandonment and demolition for RimRock. Superintendent: DJ Omang. Integrity Maintenance Agreement. Working 6-10s. Job complete.
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.