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
I struggle with my words today to communicate the value of your work and advocacy going forward. We have been blessed abundantly for the last ten years, and the work outlook remains robust, but there are demons at our door.
Work is in full swing, and it is an amazing time to be a Local 798 Pipeliner! Looking at man-hours, we are pretty much even with where we were by this time last year. If you are working on one of our larger projects, you’ve probably noticed a Local 798 Action Network banner hanging in your warehouse location.
If you have a job, hang onto it! It appears we have reached the point where most of our large projects are nearly fully manned. I believe we will have work through the fall of this year. However, it will not be at the rate we have experienced this summer.
We are well into the work season and as you are aware, it is great. We have jobs going in almost all parts of the country and still have jobs waiting to start. The work in KY is picking up as well.