The Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) is closing out an active 2012 with members busy and labor agreements in place with the unions representing the four crafts engaged in pipeline construction.
“The PLCA and its members are positioned well within the industry as the year comes to a close,” said Dan Murphy, association president. “The strength of the PLCA has always been achieved through the active participation of its members and the ability of its members to come together as one for the overall benefit of the industry.”
A primary source of work for many contractor members continues to be in the Marcellus, Bakken and Haynesville natural gas and oil shale fields.
One of PLCA’s primary responsibilities is negotiating labor agreements and administrating union contracts.
“The biggest challenge the PLCA faced going into 2012 was an ongoing labor agreement dispute with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters,” said Murphy. “Through the continuing efforts of representatives on both sides of the table, we were able to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial to both sides. We now have new agreements with all of the crafts that will keep us competitive in the marketplace and help maintain continuity with our employees in the field.”
The other unions are the Laborers International Union of North America, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and the International Union of Operating Engineers.
During the year, PLCA also was able to facilitate Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for some large-scale projects, said Murphy.
“These PLAs will have mutual benefit for the contractors and the owner companies as we begin construction on these projects and as we move forward into subsequent years,” he said.
In addition, PLCA provides trustees and counsel to a number of multi-employer pension and welfare plans throughout the country.
“As always,” said Murphy, “the safety of our members’ employees is always a key concern. Through the continued efforts of our safety committee, the PLCA has once again set the bar high to ensure that all of our members have the resources to maintain exemplary safety statistics.”
Routine business included publication of the PLCA Newsletter; industry training which includes the manual, Pipe Line Construction, published in conjunction with the University of Texas at Arlington; and making training videos available to members.
Looking ahead, Murphy said that with the new labor agreements in place, PLCA must now focus on the impending skilled labor shortage the industry likely will face in the upcoming year.
“We are coming into a year in which there appears to be another uptick in terms of demands for skilled labor,” he explained. “While the past several years have been robust, and we have already trained many people new to the pipeline industry, this next year will again challenge us in this area. It will be imperative that the PLCA contractors and signatory crafts work together to ensure that we are able to train skilled workers so that they can work safely for the benefit of themselves and those around them while also being able to maintain the level of efficiency that our clients have come to expect from our members.”
The PLCA was formed in 1948 to assist its members with safety programs and labor relations related to the pipeline construction industry. The association began negotiating its first labor agreements in 1949.
Murphy is president of Precision Pipeline LLC, Eau Claire, WI. His term of president will end in February at the association’s 65th annual meeting when new president John Allen takes over the position. Allen is president of Pipe Line Constructors LLC, West Monroe, LA.
PLCA offices are in Dallas, TX. J. Patrick Tielborg is managing director and general counsel. For more information access the association web site, www.plca.org, or call (214) 969-2700.
PLCA 65th Annual Convention
Feb. 12 – 16
Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch