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.
MORE 798 STORIES
I am writing this Blue Light report after returning from the 2017 Marcellus-Utica Conference. This year’s conference had a more positive atmosphere due to expected deregulation of the current permitting process. During the conference I listened to gas company CEOs speak about how great the demand is for Northeast Marcellus gas. When there is demand, you need supply, and that is where 798 steps in. The pipelines we build supply the gas needed as our country continues to grow and inevitably demands more energy. There are quite a few projects scheduled for this year, and in 2018 that will help with the supply vs. demand issue that we currently face.
I am writing my report from my office in Colorado where we have had a hard winter this year. Spring is starting to try to peak through, and we are all ready to get the year started off right by attending the Local Union 798 Steward School in Tulsa, OK.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, President Trump has been busy his first week on the job. Just as he promised on the campaign trail, he has pushed for the construction to finish on the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL. I’m not sure when we might see the KXL, but I feel fairly confident that the DAPL will be tied-in at the river before long. Many people, including myself, are wondering about the future pipeline permits now that FERC has only two commissioners. This board usually requires three members for a quorum to make decisions, so moving forward this board needs at least one appointment to fulfill its obligation. Even if an appointment is made, that person would have to be vetted through the Senate, which could take weeks or months. Who knows? At least six major projects totaling more than 10 billion dollars hang in the balance. This includes the Nexus, 250 miles of 36”/42”; PennEast,120 miles of 36”; and Northern Access Pipeline, 97 miles of 24”. Ten billion dollars worth of work is the exact reason we must continue to reach out through our Action Page to advocate for this infrastructure.
Brothers and Sisters, I am writing this report from West Texas while checking on non-union jobs. The work out here is still slow, but a few smaller jobs are going on. It seems the drilling is starting to pick up in this area so that’s always a good sign for us. As usual, when the work slows the non-union waste no time slashing wages and good conditions are nonexistent. Many are working for contract wages with no overtime, furnishing consumables or liability insurance.