What a difference a year can make. I always review previous Blue Light Reports before I begin my new remarks, and I was truly amazed by all the issues and projects that have taken place these past few months. Who would have thought a brash businessman from New York could have connected with middle-class America and be voted in as President? Whether you like President Trump or hate him, I believe it is imperative we support this new leadership. I truly believe he will enact and push through policies that will help lead this nation away from dependence on foreign oil and promote a more energy-friendly environment. This is already evident in the executive orders to complete the Dakota Access and renew the Keystone Pipeline. I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for our new General President Mark McManus; he represented the United Association with class and dignity during his recent visit to the White House and his appearance on Hardball with Chris Matthews. These are exciting times for our Local, and I feel like it is a turning point for organized labor in general. I believe we are beginning to see the fruits of our labor, and I appreciate our members for all their hard work and dedication to our craft.
I would like to draw your attention to a new piece of technology that I am excited about because I believe it will refine the way we, as a Local, can make our voices and opinions heard to our legislative and administrative leaders. It is called the American Pipeline Action Network. It is a website that compiles all our promotional efforts into one location. Danny and I have attempted to make it easier for Local 798 members to send letters of support to various leaders around the nation. It is easy to sign up and join. Simply go to our website, www.local798.org, and click on the link at the top of our page called “Take Action Today.” You will then be directed to the American Pipeline Action Network page. When you click the “Join Here” button, you will be directed to a form asking for general information which includes your name, address, email, phone number, and a box to check if you are a member. Anyone can join. In fact, we encourage it. This site is not only for our members, but it also can be utilized by our family, friends, and members of our community. I believe this is a crucial time in our history as a Local, because we are beginning to draw the attention of our sister locals, contractors, and gas companies. Recently, David Butterworth and Terry Langley attended the Marcellus Conference, and the CEO of Williams, Alan Armstrong, stated that he appreciated the efforts of our members in supporting the various projects throughout the Northeast. They have seen that we are serious about advancing our agenda and promoting and protecting our way of life for our families. We want to spread our message to as many people as possible. I encourage you to please post your support to Facebook, or send a tweet after you have electronically signed these documents. It is easy through the Action Page. After you have “signed” the letter of support, you will be taken to a page that will ask if you want to post on Facebook or tweet. Simply select your preferred option and hit post. Then the people you have shared with can join and sign our letters of support. Please use these social media tools to advance our message. If we do not make our voices heard what is the general public hearing from the opposition? Truth or lies? It is up to us to voice truth!
You should have received your registration information for the upcoming Steward School. I encourage you to bring your family as well because this will be a fun and informative week for all. As usual, the week will begin with the George Lambert/Harry Faucett Scholarship Golf Tournament which will be held Monday, April 10, at Forest Ridge Golf Course with tee times beginning at 1 p.m. I will be holding the Steward Computer Training class on Tuesday, April 11, at 1 p.m. at the Training Center. I will be covering the four reports the Job Steward is responsible for submitting to the Hall each week. Charles Yates, Jr., will be assisting with the class this year. And I plan on having some breakout sessions that will provide more hands-on learning for everyone. The PIBF will have their regular session, and Bob Kime has scheduled a firm to come in and give a presentation on wills and trusts. I hope everyone will take advantage of this session, because it is never too early to plan for your future and ensure your assets for your family. Bob has also scheduled a session that will deal with per diem and the correct way to claim it on taxes, as well as other tax issues that are unique to our work.
In closing, I would like to express my deep affection and appreciation for Renee’ Taylor for her many years of service to our great Local. Some of you may not be aware that she will be retiring effective this June. I encourage all of you to let her know how much she means to you personally and what an asset she has been to our Local. She has seen many changes over the years, some good, others bad, but she has never wavered in her commitment to 798. She has always upheld the standards which our Local represents. She will truly be missed, but we wish her the best as she and her husband, Terry, travel and spend more time with friends and family. Personally, there will be a void in my heart because I cannot tell you how much she has meant to me every day. She made my job easier, gave guidance when needed, and shared her expertise on so many levels. She is not only my colleague, but I am blessed to call her my friend.
As always, I am continually blessed to serve this great Local. Do not hesitate to call if I can be of some assistance.
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.