February 2015, Vol. 70, No. 2


PLCA Partners With Unions To Address Industry Needs

A primary responsibility of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) is negotiating labor agreements and administering collective bargaining labor contracts with the international unions representing crafts whose members are active in pipeline construction and maintenance activities.

During 2014, the association completed negotiations with each of the four unions for new contracts. In addition, the PLCA negotiated with each a new National Pipe Line Integrity Management and Maintenance Agreement, said PLCA President Ronnie Wise.

“Briefly,” Wise explained, “the Unions and the PLCA recognize that integrity and maintenance work is vital to keeping the existing infrastructure operating safely and efficiently. The new agreement allows for increased flexibility and portability of trained crews across state lines.”

These issues and more will be discussed at the PLCA 67th Annual Convention in Carlsbad, CA, from Feb. 24-28.

Wise said agreements with International Brotherhood of Teamsters, International Union of Operating Engineers and Laborers International Union of North America went into effect from February 2014 and runs through June 3, 2017. The United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters agreement became effective June 1, 2014 and runs until June 4, 2017.

On the work front, PLCA member contractors completed the Enbridge Flanagan South Pipeline Project from Illinois to Oklahoma under a project contract negotiated in 2013 by the PLCA, and Price Gregory International Inc. finished the Gulf Coast Houston Lateral Project, the final section of the TransCanada XL Pipeline, also completed under a project labor agreement.

“The unions and the PLCA are in discussions with several clients to develop Project Labor Agreements,” Wise said. “Project Labor Agreements have been successfully utilized on major pipeline expansion projects in the past. The agreements ensure that qualified labor is available to construct a quality pipeline project on schedule and within budget.”

In another focus of market support, the PLCA Scholarship Fund continues to have an impact on the industry.

“At our 2014 Convention,” said Wise, “the PLCA Scholarship Fund awarded 20 new scholarships at $8,000 each to children, grandchildren and stepchildren of our members. The scholarship fund now has awarded 158 scholarships. More than 96 percent of fund donations are used for scholarships.”

Going forward, Wise said one of the most important issues to address in 2015 is working with the four pipeline unions to ensure there are a sufficient number of trained craft workers for the large amount of work that is expected in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

“All four international unions have training facilities and schools financed with contributions from PLCA contractors,” Wise said. “The PLCA and unions are working together to ensure that the training for pipeline workers is current and being conducted in the locations where the major expansion projects will be built.”

Formed in 1948 to assist its members with safety programs and labor relations, PLCA has been negotiating labor agreements and administering labor contracts since 1949.

Wise is chief operating officer for the lower 48 states for Price Gregory International Inc. His term as PLCA president will end following election of new officers at the association’s 2015 annual meeting in Carlsbad, CA, at the end of February.

PLCA offices are in Dallas, TX. J. Patrick Tielborg is managing director and general counsel. Information about the association and its programs can be found at www.plca.org, or by calling (214) 969-2700.

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