Stewards From Locals Nationwide Attend
More than 200 stewards and business agents from local unions in the U.S. and Canada that represent members in the pipeline construction industry are attending the 7th annual pipeline stewards school this week. The school covers a variety of safety topics, includes a review of the most recent national contract, a report about the status of the pipeline workers’ pension fund and reports on services offered by Teamster departments.
Jim Hoffa, Teamsters General President, greeted the numerous first-time attendees with words of encouragement to keep participating in meetings such as this and at their local unions.
“Due to the tremendous work that Bubba Davis (Director of the Teamsters Building Material and Construction Trade Division) and David LaBorde (Director of Teamster Pipeline Projects) have done with this meeting year after year, the word has gotten around and people are coming here enthusiastically,” Hoffa said. “And, your training of Teamster members has taken off. Over 1,250 members trained to work on pipeline projects last year. This nation needs pipelines and these pipeline projects mean more good jobs for Teamster families. The pipeline pension fund is doing very well and that is essential. Having a strong pension fund along with the opportunity for good paying jobs means the pipeline construction industry will continue to grow.”
More Canadian local unions and members participated this year than ever before with 20 representatives from eight Canadian local unions attending.
“I am proud that we have Canadian Teamster members here representing thousands who work on pipelines across our country,” said Francois Laporte, President of Teamsters Canada. “We fight together and we build things together, and the pipeline is a good example. These projects show how unions from two nations can come together.”
General Secretary-Treasurer Ken Hall reported that the union is on strong financial ground. “We have over $300 million in assets,” Hall said. “We are better off financially than we have ever been. Our strike fund also has $210 million which supports our members and prevents strikes because employers know we have a very healthy strike fund.”
In addition to presentations from various Teamster departments, there will also be an overview on the status of current pipeline projects in Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, West Virginia and other states and early information on planning for future projects.