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.
On the bright side, we have experienced a good work year in 2016, and the winter work coming into 2017 has been a blessing to say the least. From all indications, 2017 looks to be a fantastic year for us. There appears to be enough work that we may be looking for Welders, Journeymen and Helpers early in the year.
I feel that the oil and gas industry will do very well in the next few years. There are a lot of projects on the books in the near future, but some of them face heavy opposition from various organizations. I would like to ask each of you to help promote these jobs. After all, they are our jobs and we must make every effort to be more vocal than the opposition. From time to time you will receive call blasts, emails and notices on social media to act in support of these jobs. When you receive these notices, please help in any way possible.
It was very encouraging to see President Trump sign executive orders expediting the permitting of the DAPL and KXL and requiring American made pipe on future projects. These are just a couple of big projects that have fallen victim to massive protests, mostly spurred on by misinformation. It’s up to us to show support and make sure the facts are out there. Whatever you can do, whether sending emails, writing letters, making phone calls or showing up to public meetings, please take the time to do it. Our livelihood depends on it.
As most of you know President Trump met with various union officials to see what can be done to put the construction trades back to work. I do not know if this has ever happened before. I don’t remember in my lifetime when a U.S. President invited Union leaders into the White House for their input, especially on the first day of business. It was good to see our General President, Brother Mark McManus, included in this meeting. This seems to me to have been ahistorical meeting. It’s good to see the President of the United States interested in what working people have to say and taking the time to sit down and actually have a one-on-one conversation with labor.
Steward School is right around the corner. I hope everyone plans to attend. As always, a good time will be had by all. But most importantly, the knowledge we come away with is invaluable. Nothing promotes peace and harmony on the job like Steward School. Even if you never desire to be a job Steward or Welder Foreman, it’s imperative that we are all on the same page and have a mutual understanding of the contract and/or working rules. And if you want to make new friends, meet old friends, or make some good job contacts, this is the place to do it.
With the amount of work coming up, we are certainly going to need some good, qualified people. If you know of any have them give me a call.
I’m spending a lot of time on the road mostly in West Texas and eastern New Mexico. If anyone has any information that would be helpful in these areas, please contact me. It’s a big country out here and I can use all the help I can get. One phone call or text has saved me several hundred miles before.
If I can be of any assistance to anyone, please do not hesitate to call. If I don’t answer, leave a message. I am in a lot of no-service areas, sometimes for hours.
I’m hoping everyone has a prosperous and safe work year in 2017. See y’all in April.
Ronnie M. Hill
MORE 798 STORIES
Dear Brothers and Sisters, It is a great time to be a pipeliner in Local 798. With over two million man hours worked this year, I would say that the work season is off to a fantastic start. The great news is that the work doesn’t appear to show signs of slowing down anytime soon. After seeing a record-breaking number of man hours worked in April, I predict that this will be a trend for the coming months as well. With that in mind, we must do our best to fulfill our obligation to our fair contractors. To fulfill our end of the bargain, we have nearly exhausted the Out-of-Work Lists and have heavily utilized the application list. In doing so, we have taken in many new members this year and will continue to do that to man the work. I ask that our long-time members welcome these new Brothers and Sisters to our membership and set the bar high for what it truly means to be a Local 798 member.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, I would like to begin my remarks today by thanking everyone who has stepped up and helped man our work. These are indeed historical times for our Local due to the sheer volume of members we are sending out to these jobs. And I am also excited about the new members we are receiving during this time. It is our responsibility to welcome and educate these new members on the standards of becoming a UA member. Black Schroeder and Guy Williams gave excellent presentations at Steward School. These presentations can be viewed on our website, www.local798.org, under the media tab. I would like to highlight just a few key points. Pipeline etiquette is making others feel comfortable by the way you behave, and thinking of others before yourself, because people will remember how you made them feel, whether good or bad. We must practice this belief on and off the ROW. It must become ingrained in us to treat others with respect and to be kind in our dealings with others. The etiquette of business is a set of written and unwritten rules of conduct: show up on time; be drug and alcohol free; help fellow members in time of need; support unionism and the oath of obligation; protect UA work; and protect the UA constitution and abide by it. Remember there is a proper chain of command when dealing with issues on the ROW. Always start with the Welder Foreman, then proceed to the Job Steward, then to the Business Agent if needed. Any type of harassment on the job will not be tolerated, neither will any type of disrespect to the Welder Foreman, Job Steward, or any UA member. Many people become UA members because they expect to be treated fairly, and are willing to abide by our code of conduct.
The work exploded April 10, 2017. We had the largest order EVER for one day. During my two years as Dispatcher, we’ve had 65, 73 or 80 dispatches to perform in a day. On April 10, 2017, we had orders for 150 people, approximately 50 welders and 100 helpers. It stayed at that volume for over a week. During the surge in 2008, we only had one or two days of 100 dispatches.
I am writing this report from home. The work, as you know, is great. We are having a hard time filling some of these jobs, so I encourage you, if you aren’t already working, to apply for jobs on the Job Line. We need everyone’s help in manning these jobs because if we don’t man the work, the non-union will. Let’s not let the non-union get any stronger than they already are. The work in my area is manned up for now, but I am still sending in a few hands on the special agreement work.