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 am writing this report after returning from Florida. These past couple of months have been spent traveling around, meeting and greeting people, and exploring all the job opportunities that are coming up for bid in the South.
I am writing my report in route to the Colorado Water & Energy Conference. The conference will bring together U.S and Canadian senior leaders in Energy Development and Water Infrastructure planning. I am looking forward to sitting at the table with the men and women who plan infrastructure development in Colorado and throughout the West. I will do my best to relay that Local 798 is looking to be a partner in the construction of all pipelines planned for future development.
The 2018 work season has started already, and this year will be another busy one for everyone. The mainline work will again be in the Northeast to get the Marcellus and Utica Shale Natural Gas out of the gas fields to be distributed to American homes and businesses. Natural gas will be the product that keeps our members working for many years to come.
So far, 2018 is starting out like last year. Several projects have gone out for bid in Texas, but our fair contractors have had no success picking up any jobs. Everyone’s saying the same thing: the work is going cheap.