This year has certainly flown by. It seems like only yesterday that the pending work in my jurisdiction was the hot topic at the National Pipeline Conference, and that was nine months ago. Those projects are in full swing now and about 85 percent manned at this printing. We currently have a total of 960 Welders, Journeymen, and Helpers working throughout my jurisdiction on mega projects that will last well into the spring and early summer. There is a lot of serious welding going on for the clients and contractors that demand quality and quantity, and our membership is getting the job done.
The current atmosphere of pipeline bashing is growing. I’m not sure that the anti-pipeline construction crowd is bigger than we are, but they surely are organized. Their minds are made up to stop every project, and they won’t be swayed. Reason is out the door, common sense be damned, and the livelihood and future of the pipeline construction industry is in grave jeopardy. We must respond loudly and quickly. So, what is the answer? We must fight fire with fire. We must become more organized than the opposition. And we must be more determined than they are. To advocate for our jobs was unheard of until recently. Now it is the new norm.
That means that we, as pipeliners, must become proactive, not reactive. We must fight for our livelihood in every locale in America where pipelines are constructed. To remain silent and complacent is no longer an option. Our jobs depend on it. If you believe it, you are well ahead of the curve. If you doubt it, you better get on board yesterday.
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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.