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
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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.