The 2016 general election is another for the history books. We had a healthy campaign that included both veterans and novices. Those of you who ran for office should be commended for participating. It takes guts to put yourself in a position of vulnerability. Congratulations to all the successful candidates. It is an honor and a heavy responsibility to hold such positions.
The job notifications in my jurisdiction have slowed down quite a bit as winter settles in. However, 2017 still looks to be a prosperous year with opportunity for man hours. Those opportunities also present the challenge of competing with the non-union sector. In order for us to maintain our market share of these projects, it is crucial for Local 798 to outperform every time. We must convince the gas companies to choose union labor. We can make union labor more appealing by setting a good example and being more productive. What does that look like? Arriving to work early, dressed in appropriate attire, truck prepped and in good condition, and ready to give a full day’s work.
We’ve all heard the stories of making some ungodly number of welds in a ten-hour day. That is the truth. That is no exaggeration. Hands had pride in themselves and our union. They worked all day long from the time they set-in and started the fire in the morning until they rattled the pipe in the evening. When that bus pulled up to the pipe gang, we would bail out anxious to get to work. That is part of our tradition taught by our retirees who showed us how to work hard and get it done well.
Dad loved to tell those pipeline stories: his first pipeline job in 1958, his initiation into 798 in 1960, living in those damn man camps in Alaska, he and I welding across the pipe from each other…I know those stories by heart. Thank you to so many of you who also shared your stories remembering Dad fondly and offering your condolences. I’m proud of those memories. I’m proud of him. Proud of his accomplishments and contributions to 798 as a welder, steward, long time finance committee member, UA delegate, Business Agent in Alaska during the Trans Alaska pipeline, and Business Agent over nine southern states. I am proud to carry-on the traditions my father taught me and many others. Traditions of finding satisfaction in hard work, knowing the value of a work ethic, and having a hunger to earn your own way. I will continue to go to work every day trying my hardest to take care of his legacy, our legacy, and all that I hold dear. I have big shoes to fill. You will be missed Dad, but not forgotten.
MORE 798 STORIES
I struggle with my words today to communicate the value of your work and advocacy going forward. We have been blessed abundantly for the last ten years, and the work outlook remains robust, but there are demons at our door.
Work is in full swing, and it is an amazing time to be a Local 798 Pipeliner! Looking at man-hours, we are pretty much even with where we were by this time last year. If you are working on one of our larger projects, you’ve probably noticed a Local 798 Action Network banner hanging in your warehouse location.
If you have a job, hang onto it! It appears we have reached the point where most of our large projects are nearly fully manned. I believe we will have work through the fall of this year. However, it will not be at the rate we have experienced this summer.
We are well into the work season and as you are aware, it is great. We have jobs going in almost all parts of the country and still have jobs waiting to start. The work in KY is picking up as well.