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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I want to thank everyone for their calls and letters of condolences concerning my father, Doyle Hendrix, on his passing. I was truly blessed to have him for 82 years and to have him as a mentor my whole life. His face and voice will be with me for as long as I live. I am grateful for that and grateful for the outpouring of sympathy from the membership.
I want to start by thanking every member that is doing their part to make the Action Network a success. We’ve had several opportunities lately to take action with the Cheyenne Connector Project, the Northeast Supply Enhancement, Jordan Cove Project, the Line 5 Project, and the Line 3 Project.
The current number of members on the out-of-work list is as follows: Welders – 1,287; Journeyman – 207; and Helpers – 1,655. The out-of-work numbers do not reflect the members who are working building trades and still on the out-of-work list.
401(k) Plan We frequently are asked about taking a loan against a member’s 401(k) balance. The Pipeline Industry 401(k) Plan does not allow participant loans. 401(k) loan repayment must be set up as a deduction from payroll. Due to the nature of the construction industry, working for different contractors for various time frames doesn’t allow for consistent repayment of the loan, which would cause the loan to be in default.