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.
Safety should be our number one priority every day. This issue hits close to home for me because I lost two of the most influential men in my life due to pipeline accidents. These men instilled in me the values and ethics that I hope I am passing along to others. We must demand that everyone work safe, not just doing what is convenient at the time. Because the ones who have gone before us have worked and sacrificed for our safe working conditions today. Our craftsmanship and productivity are two of the most important things that make Local 798 unique, and it is imperative that we give the contractors and our clients an honest day’s work. The quickest way to do anything is to do it right the first time! We strive to have zero repair rates, and work diligently to identify those members who need additional assistance at our state-of-the-art training center in Tulsa. As UA members, we should take pride in our work, lead by example and stand by our word. If we follow these principles, I believe we will be successful at work as well as in life.
I recently attended the Keystone meetings held in Lincoln, Nebraska, along with UA International Representative David Barnett, Business Agent Philip Wallace, Business Agent Chad Gilbert and retired member Warren Jones. Of course, the opposition was out in force, but we had great support from our sister crafts. And I would like to say thank you to all who attended. In addition to the Keystone Pipeline, hearings are also underway for the Line 3 Replacement Project and the Atlantic Sunrise Project. I know many of you are working and will be unable to attend the meetings, but I encourage you to log on to our American Pipeline Action Network to sign petitions and electronically send letters to our Congressmen. Again, I am very appreciative for all you do to support our efforts to get these projects approved, and this work season is the evidence that our efforts are being rewarded!
I would like to recognize Ricky Jones and the members of the Dispatch Office for all the hard work and dedication they have given over these last couple of months. It has not been easy filling all these job orders, but they have shown up and given their best effort. I would like to say thank you to all the office staff for all they do for our membership, and for their tireless dedication to their work. They are a wonderful group of people to work with, and I appreciate all they do to help the Local run smoothly! I would like to commend Charlie Yates and David Butterworth for all of their hard work and effort. They may be the two newest Business Agents to come on board, but they have handled all the work in their areas like veterans. I would like to welcome Justin Hornback to our 798 staff. He is a ten-year member, and is currently assisting Ricky in the Dispatch Office. He will have other duties as assigned by Danny, and I know he will be a great asset to our staff. I look forward to working with him.
Danny and I hope to see you this summer. We are planning a Regional Meeting on Sunday, September 17, in Cleveland, OH, at the Lincoln Electric Headquarters. Additional information will be posted on our website as more details are finalized. I hope everyone has a safe and productive work season and as always, I am blessed to serve this great Local. Please do not hesitate to call if I can be of any assistance.
In closing, I am sure many of you are aware that Terry Langley is fighting multiple myeloma. Please remember him and Debby in your prayers. James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (KJV).
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.