New pension fund for pipeline workers established

The trustees that comprise the board of the newly established National Teamsters Pipeline Pension Fund met on Sept. 28 at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) in Washington, DC, to discuss final stages for setting up the fund and other organizational matters. This pension fund will provide benefits for Teamsters who are pipeline workers.

The trustees elected David Laborde, director of the Pipeline Division for the Teamsters Building Materials and Construction Division, as chairman. The fund’s board of trustees consists of three union and three management trustees. General President Jim Hoffa appointed as trustees LaBorde; Marion Davis, director of the Building Materials and Construction Division; and International Trustee Kevin Moore.

“It’s an honor to be part of this new fund which was established exclusively for the benefit of our pipeline members,” Moore said. “Our General President, Jim Hoffa, was the catalyst for approving the fund and I know he is committed to its success. I will work diligently to represent our members.”

“We are in a strong position with currently holding a $5 million balance,” Davis said. “As more employers come on line, the fund will continue to grow.”

The management trustees – Robert Osborn of Michels Corporation, Robert Riess of Sheehan Pipeline Construction and Ronnie Wise of Price Gregory – represent some of the largest pipeline employers.

There are more than 3,500 Teamster members who work in the growing pipeline industry. As an example, the Keystone XL pipeline has two sites in Texas and Oklahoma under way that are employing 350 Teamsters. In addition, work for a 600-mile project through several states is currently being negotiated as part of the Flanagan line.

In July, Hoffa, along with the General Presidents of the other major pipeline crafts, approved the transfer of $100,000 from the defunct Pipeline Unions Mobilization Project (P.U.M.P.) to lobby for permits for the installation of over 1,300-miles of new pipeline installation for one of the largest natural gas pipeline companies in the United States, ONEOK. This project will cover territory in North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and Kansas.

“Due to the efforts of the major pipeline crafts, we secured an agreement with ONEOK Partners guaranteeing that at least 65 percent of the work will be performed by the four crafts – Teamsters, Laborers, Operating Engineers and Welders,” Davis said. “The remaining 35 percent of the work will be issued for competitive bids. We anticipate that some of this work will be covered under a collective bargaining agreement as well.”

“While the work on ONEOK is not scheduled to begin until possibly late 2013 or early 2014, we feel that it, along with Keystone, will provide pipeline construction work for our members for the next three to five years, if not longer,” Davis said.

The Pipeline Division is a part of the Teamsters Building Material and Construction Trade Division, which represents more than 93,000 members who work for construction firms throughout the United States.

Founded in 1903, the IBT represents 1.4 million men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

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