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Blue Light Report - January / February 2019

This year we will be celebrating our 70th Anniversary as a Local Union. We were chartered on November 21, 1949. I want to thank all our charter members and retired members that stuck together through good times and bad to ensure they achieved better working conditions, wages, healthcare, and a sustainable pension.

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Blue Light Report Organizer Update - January / February

Brothers and Sisters, by the time you receive this report we should be starting a new year. I hope everyone enjoyed a Merry Christmas whether at home or on the job. We enjoyed a fantastic work year and from all accounts, the new year looks very promising.

Please be aware that steps have been taken by our foes to place yet another barricade in front of the Keystone XL Pipeline Project. It's beyond me how anyone can think that enough has not been done after nearly ten years of impact studies and proper planning. These radical environmentalists have nothing better to do than to comb over documents searching for I’s that have not been dotted or t’s that have not been crossed so they can get some type of stop-work order. We must all do our part and make sure our names are on all Action Network petitions. Make sure your friends and relatives are on it as well. We need 100% participation. If you have a 798 book in your pocket or are related to people who make their living as pipeliners, your name should be there in support. Our jobs and livelihood literally depend on it.

It's been said, ‘’skilled labor isn’t cheap, and cheap labor isn’t skilled.” It seems that every time I turn around there is another accident of some kind in West Texas, whether it be new construction or related to system failures due to poor craftsmanship and quality control. It’s beyond me how any client would accept such liability simply to take advantage of what they feel is cheap labor. In the long run, it winds up being VERY expensive costing them triple the amount.  The poor quality of work and production is the worst I have seen in my entire pipeline career. The total disregard for industry specifications, safety, and workers’ rights is unbelievable. I wonder where all the protesters are? If they ever wanted to protest something, West Texas would be the place to go, but it seems they have turned a blind eye to this area for some reason.

Many non-union welders fed up with low pay and poor working conditions joined our ranks this year. To them I would say, welcome Brothers and Sisters, you have made the right choice. Many remain on the other side, and I have no idea why. Our goal is to see that every pipeline welder in this country is a member of Local 798. I am willing to help anyone who has the skill to perform the work, but I can’t help someone who won’t help themselves. If you are working for sub-standard wages, have ever received a check that was short and not made right or have been lied to in order to get you on a job, then you are a victim of theft. They are stealing your money and your trust, and if you allow it, then it’s self-inflicted. The people who do this to you are not your friends, so stand up to them and demand to be treated fairly and to be respected. We are all pipeliners and should be working and fighting together for a common goal.

To all our members, talk to the guys in the non-union sector. Help them to understand the importance of solidarity among pipeliners. We all need to share in the task of organizing the unorganized. Help show them the right path, and that this is where you prosper and rise above the stagnation of the non-union side.

I hope everyone had a fantastic work year and hopefully, 2019 will be just as prosperous. If I can help anyone, do not hesitate to call. Please try to attend all membership meetings and support the Action Network.

Fraternally,

Ronnie M. Hill

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