Bluelight Central - Jan / Feb 2017

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

  • Bluelight Report - July 2017
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, It is a great time to be a pipeliner in Local 798. With over two million man hours worked this year, I would say that the work season is off to a fantastic start. The great news is that the work doesn’t appear to show signs of slowing down anytime soon. After seeing a record-breaking number of man hours worked in April, I predict that this will be a trend for the coming months as well. With that in mind, we must do our best to fulfill our obligation to our fair contractors. To fulfill our end of the bargain, we have nearly exhausted the Out-of-Work Lists and have heavily utilized the application list. In doing so, we have taken in many new members this year and will continue to do that to man the work. I ask that our long-time members welcome these new Brothers and Sisters to our membership and set the bar high for what it truly means to be a Local 798 member.
  • Bluelight Report - July 2017
    Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would like to begin my remarks today by thanking everyone who has stepped up and helped man our work. These are indeed historical times for our Local due to the sheer volume of members we are sending out to these jobs. And I am also excited about the new members we are receiving during this time. It is our responsibility to welcome and educate these new members on the standards of becoming a UA member. Black Schroeder and Guy Williams gave excellent presentations at Steward School. These presentations can be viewed on our website, www.local798.org, under the media tab. I would like to highlight just a few key points. Pipeline etiquette is making others feel comfortable by the way you behave, and thinking of others before yourself, because people will remember how you made them feel, whether good or bad. We must practice this belief on and off the ROW. It must become ingrained in us to treat others with respect and to be kind in our dealings with others. The etiquette of business is a set of written and unwritten rules of conduct: show up on time; be drug and alcohol free; help fellow members in time of need; support unionism and the oath of obligation; protect UA work; and protect the UA constitution and abide by it. Remember there is a proper chain of command when dealing with issues on the ROW. Always start with the Welder Foreman, then proceed to the Job Steward, then to the Business Agent if needed. Any type of harassment on the job will not be tolerated, neither will any type of disrespect to the Welder Foreman, Job Steward, or any UA member. Many people become UA members because they expect to be treated fairly, and are willing to abide by our code of conduct.
  • Bluelight Dispatch - July 2017
    The work exploded April 10, 2017. We had the largest order EVER for one day. During my two years as Dispatcher, we’ve had 65, 73 or 80 dispatches to perform in a day. On April 10, 2017, we had orders for 150 people, approximately 50 welders and 100 helpers. It stayed at that volume for over a week. During the surge in 2008, we only had one or two days of 100 dispatches.
  • Bluelight Mid Atlantic - July 2017
    I am writing this report from home. The work, as you know, is great. We are having a hard time filling some of these jobs, so I encourage you, if you aren’t already working, to apply for jobs on the Job Line. We need everyone’s help in manning these jobs because if we don’t man the work, the non-union will. Let’s not let the non-union get any stronger than they already are. The work in my area is manned up for now, but I am still sending in a few hands on the special agreement work.