Union Activities Update, Twin Cities Riots, Pipeline Steward Training

Union Activities Update
There are three areas in terms of Union activities that I wanted to update members on. These updates are all COVID-19 related.

Monthly Union Meetings:
Unfortunately, we are going to cancel all monthly union meetings again in June. We were hoping to start them up again this month. But after conferring with officers and getting information about what other IUOE locals in our region were doing, I decided that wouldn’t be the safest course.  

In addition, the kind of restrictions that are still in place in Minnesota makes it a little questionable as to whether holding an informational meeting would be within the CDC and state department of health guidelines. Also, given the fact that IUOE General President Callahan has given Locals the authority to conduct business without holding meetings, for now, they are not essential.

I am hopeful that restrictions will ease again soon, and that we can return to monthly meetings in July. I think we are all looking to get back to normal very soon, and we will do that as quickly as we can.

Union Hall In-Person Business
We are loosening the restrictions on in-person business at our halls. Most of our union halls are set up in a way where social distancing can be observed, and there will never be more than a couple of people in at a time. Not all of our halls are set up this way, and so I encourage you to call to see if you can stop by. I also encourage you to do business over the phone or email if you can.

Business Agent Jobsite Visits
I had instructed the Business Agents to stay off of jobsites as much as possible during the past two months and to do business over the phone and email to help do our part to stop the spread of the virus. As restrictions are being eased and given the majority of our jobsites are outdoors, I have instructed the Business Agents to start stopping on jobsites again.

They will ease back into this, they will use caution, and they will be socially distancing. They will also not stop when instructed by contractors not to unless there is a serious issue. I just wanted to give a heads up you will start to see your Business Agents more in the field, but we will continue to be cautious and safe.

Twin Cities Riots
First off, we are getting calls from members wondering if our main office in Minneapolis is ok. It is. There was no damage, and everyone is doing fine.

This past week saw destruction and violence, the likes of which the Twin Cities has never seen before. The death of George Floyd was an awful tragedy, and those responsible should be held fully accountable. The destruction and disruption of the neighborhoods in St. Paul and Minneapolis was a disgrace. Our neighbors are hurting, they have a long road to recovery, and they need our help.

Building infrastructure is what we as members of Local 49 do best. We also take care of one another and the communities that we call home. We will do everything we can to help pick up the pieces and build stronger communities for our neighbors who are suffering. In order to help rebuild and make our communities stronger, Local 49’s executive board will be discussing financial contributions to efforts focused on rebuilding the affected areas of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. 

If you are interested in assisting or contributing, please work with the Hamline Midway Coalition’s Neighbors United Funding Collaborative. If you are interested in helping the small businesses on Lake Street, please contribute to the Lake Street Council’s We Love Lake Street Fund.  

I hope the violence is over. It does nothing to solve the underlying problems that exist. It only causes pain and suffering to people in neighborhoods that are already struggling. 

Pipeline Steward Training
Local 49, in conjunction with the International Union, is conducting a pipeline steward class. This class is specifically related to Line 3. There are experienced stewards that will participate, but in an attempt to give more people opportunities, we have ten openings for members who are interested. If you have ever wanted to be a union steward on a pipeline job, and you have a lot of experience in the industry, this would be a good time to step up.

This will be first come first serve and is open to any pipeliner in our local. To get more details on the training please e-mail me at jgeorge@local49.org. The dates are June 13th all day and half-day on June 14th, and the location will be in the Twin Cities. You have to commit to attending both days.

Again, if you are interested in this class please e-mail me at jgeorge@local49.org. 

That is all for now – be safe out there everyone, and as always take care of each other.

Jason George