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
As PIBF Co-Chairman, I am proud to announce an accrual increase for the Welders, Journeymen, and Helpers. The Journeymen rate increased from $205 to $220, and the Helpers increased from $136 to $146 per credit. Additionally, retired members will enjoy a five percent increase in their monthly amount. After the pension raises were calculated, the fund is still at 110.8 percent!
2019 is rapidly coming to a close. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we must be prepared to fight for every mile of pipeline that we get to lay.
I have been looking back over past Blue Light reports from 1974 to 1976, and I have found some very interesting information. I could copy and paste some of the 1974 reports, and you would not be able to tell the difference. The irony is unbelievable.
I hope this report finds everyone doing well. It was nice visiting with members during the September meeting, where we had nominations for officers for the upcoming election. I would like to congratulate all the candidates and wish each of you good luck in your endeavors. There is no greater honor than serving the members of this great local union.