I write this Blue Light Report after returning home from the December membership meeting. The officer election votes were counted, and the new 798 officers will be put in place at the January 2017 meeting.
Congratulations to the new officers, and thanks to all the candidates who ran for office. The Election Committee did a great job to make this election a success by overseeing the election company through the entire process to ensure a good, clean election. There were only
1,561 ballots counted out of over 5,000 eligible ballots mailed out. That’s not a very good percentage of members taking an interest in your Local.
By the time you receive this Blue Light, the Dakota Access Pipeline will be complete except for the 7,500 foot HDD crossing of the Missouri River in Bismarck, North Dakota. This 1,170 miles of 30” pipeline was completed in seven months, and now the missing link is the 7,500-foot piece held up by the Standing Rock Sioux that have been protesting since Labor Day 2016. To me, it’s a shame that our contractors and union members who follow the rules and abide by the laws, can’t do their job without being guarded by law and military enforcement. This is America, the land of the free where everyone has the right to protest anything they feel is not right, but that doesn’t give a person the right to break the law as the protesters have in North Dakota.
This pipeline will be completed soon. The Army Corp of Engineers may require a re-route around the Standing Rock. If they do, we are the ones that can do the job and do it well, if they get out of our way. I’m proud of the job our Welders, Helpers, and Journeyman did on the DAPL Project. This pipeline was built right, with safety the number one priority, and with the lowest repair rates in the industry. Our contractors and all four crafts worked in a professional manner to overcome tough inspection, bad weather, mud, and blizzards in the northern states to get this job done in record time.
Other work in my area will be back to mainly Maintenance and Integrity for 2017.
Since the Diamond Pipeline in Oklahoma and Arkansas was awarded to non-union contractors, and the Sandpiper Pipeline was shut down by the same groups that are protesting all pipelines across the country, I will be back to being the maintenance man again. The Diamond Line is a 440-mile, 20-inch crude oil pipeline going from Cushing, Oklahoma, to Memphis, Tennessee. Plains All American has awarded this in three spreads. Spread 1 in Oklahoma was awarded to Pumpco, Spread 2 in western Arkansas was awarded to Strike, and Spread 3 into Memphis was awarded to Energy Services South. Plains led me to believe since last April that the two Arkansas spreads would be awarded to union contractors. I see now that was a big lie. I will do anything I can to stop this project. I will contact the Bold Nebraska folks to try to get them to start a Bold Oklahoma and Arkansas. If we can’t build it right with Union Labor, I don’t want it built at all. Arkansas’s governor, senators, and congressmen have a petition to stop the Diamond Line. You would think they could get it done.
Man-hours for 2016 should hit 6.5 million. Danny Hendrix and Wade Pilgreen predict that 2017 will be around nine million. Darrell Turner’s area in the Southeast has the work this winter with around 900 members on jobs. This work will run into spring of 2017. With all the Ohio, Michigan, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and other Northeast states getting started, spring will be the beginning of a good year. What a great time to be a 798 Pipeliner.
April will be here before you know it so make plans to come to the Steward School and bring someone with you who has never been. Welder Foremen, bring your spread men and office managers to Tulsa so they can get schooled as we do. You don’t have to be a UA member to attend Steward School.
I hope everyone had a merry and happy holiday season, and will be prosperous in the New Year. Never forget: United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
MORE 798 STORIES
I am writing this Blue Light report after returning from the 2017 Marcellus-Utica Conference. This year’s conference had a more positive atmosphere due to expected deregulation of the current permitting process. During the conference I listened to gas company CEOs speak about how great the demand is for Northeast Marcellus gas. When there is demand, you need supply, and that is where 798 steps in. The pipelines we build supply the gas needed as our country continues to grow and inevitably demands more energy. There are quite a few projects scheduled for this year, and in 2018 that will help with the supply vs. demand issue that we currently face.
I am writing my report from my office in Colorado where we have had a hard winter this year. Spring is starting to try to peak through, and we are all ready to get the year started off right by attending the Local Union 798 Steward School in Tulsa, OK.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, President Trump has been busy his first week on the job. Just as he promised on the campaign trail, he has pushed for the construction to finish on the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL. I’m not sure when we might see the KXL, but I feel fairly confident that the DAPL will be tied-in at the river before long. Many people, including myself, are wondering about the future pipeline permits now that FERC has only two commissioners. This board usually requires three members for a quorum to make decisions, so moving forward this board needs at least one appointment to fulfill its obligation. Even if an appointment is made, that person would have to be vetted through the Senate, which could take weeks or months. Who knows? At least six major projects totaling more than 10 billion dollars hang in the balance. This includes the Nexus, 250 miles of 36”/42”; PennEast,120 miles of 36”; and Northern Access Pipeline, 97 miles of 24”. Ten billion dollars worth of work is the exact reason we must continue to reach out through our Action Page to advocate for this infrastructure.
Brothers and Sisters, I am writing this report from West Texas while checking on non-union jobs. The work out here is still slow, but a few smaller jobs are going on. It seems the drilling is starting to pick up in this area so that’s always a good sign for us. As usual, when the work slows the non-union waste no time slashing wages and good conditions are nonexistent. Many are working for contract wages with no overtime, furnishing consumables or liability insurance.