The 2016 work season turned out well for our members with around 6.5 million man hours worked. This year will be even better with all the big-inch work in the northeastern states to move the natural gas out of the Marcellus and Utica gas fields. We have worked for several years gathering energy in these areas and now it must be moved out to the American people who need it. There is also big pipe being laid down south in Texas, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida that has been going all winter. What a great start for a new year for 798 Pipeliners. I think the 2017 work season will start three months sooner than last year, so get your homework done and get ready to hit the road to the Rover, Leach, Nexus, and four or five more projects in the Northeast.
I look at the job line every night to see what’s moving and shaking, and to see what numbers are being dispatched. Welders are being dispatched in the high 500s, and some high scale Helper jobs in the south are going unfilled. Over 200 non-book Helpers were put to work last year in my area on the Dakota Access Pipeline because no one applied for these jobs. I predict we will double that number of new Helper members this year. On February 6, we had 984 Welders and 870 Helpers on the Out-of-Work List. That is not good. The job line is one of the best, if not the best, tools this membership has to make a good living for their families. It works very well if you use it, and we have a lot of Helpers who don’t use it to their advantage to secure work. Dispatcher Ricky Jones and the ladies in the Dispatch Office do a fantastic job getting people on the road almost every day. During January, there were just a few days that no orders were turned in, and that is very unusual for a January.
The work in my area will drop considerably this year with no big projects that I know of at this time. This area will be back to the Maintenance and Integrity work. This is good work, it just doesn’t put a lot of people to work. It only takes from two to eight Welders to man these jobs.
I think the new President, Donald Trump, will be good for the working men and women of this country. I don’t know how good Trump will be for that Union Book in your pocket in the long run, but with him in charge you will get to use that Union Book a lot more. I was really shocked when on his first day in office, Trump invited UA President Mark McManus and other labor leaders to meet with him in the White House. From everything I saw on MSNBC and the emails I got about it, everything was a total success. Trump knows that highly skilled and trained workers are needed to get this country’s energy infrastructure in place to rule the world in the energy business.
President Trump also knows all about the Dakota Access Pipeline; that Union Workers built 1,170 miles of 30’’ Crude Pipeline in 7½ months. He has ordered the Army Corps of Engineers to issue the easements to finish the DAPL directional drill of the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe Reservoir in North Dakota. This final piece completes the DAPL which spans from the Bakkun Oil Field of North Dakota to Patoka, IL. By the time that you receive this Blue Light, I think the bore will be pulled and tied in.
Thanks to all the Welders, Journeymen, and Helpers who made the Dakota Access Pipeline a success. Not just the construction, but thanks for all the phone calls, letters, and showing up at these town hall meetings along the route of DAPL. We worked over two years fighting for these permits. The whole world was watching this unfold with some wanting us to fail, but we did not. That’s what happens when you have a group that stands together and believes in something. In this day and time, you must get involved in these movements because the opposition wants to stop all pipelines, not just a specific pipeline. They don’t have big numbers in their groups but they have 100 percent involvement. You need to get involved, your next job may depend on it. United We Stand, Divided We fall.
If you can, make plans to attend the Steward School the second week in April. The format this year is covering the National Pipeline Agreement. I have invited company owners, project managers, spread men, and their office managers to come and learn our agreement, and ask questions if they don’t understand this contract. You don’t have to be a member to come to Steward School. Welder Foremen and Pipemen should bring your Spread Man and his field office people.
Thanks for all the hard work you do for your family and your organization. Hope to see you in the field.
St. Joe, MO. TransCanada Keystone Pipeline Pipe Replacements. Welder Foreman: Mark Usery. Steward: Warren Lyda.
-Clearbrook, MN. Enbridge and Koch Pipeline Fab and Replacements. New company owner and Superintendent: Greg Todavich. Welder Foreman: Pete Dremmel (LU 15). Steward: Levi Novacek.
-Clearbrook, MN. Enbridge Sleeving in MN and ND. Spreadman: Greg Todavich. Welder Foreman: Dale Hamness (LU 300). Job Steward: Ledell Sappington.
-Judsonia, AR. Center Point Energy Fab and Changeouts. Spreadman: Chad Townsend. Steward: Rocky Stilwell.
Wayne Holden Company:
-Little Rock, AR. Center Point Energy. 4,000 ft. of 10” Congested replacement. Spreadman: Stanley Eaves. Job Steward: Curtis Mason.
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.