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
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.
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.
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.
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.