Healthy Pipeline Market, Shale Plays Sustain PLCA

February 2014, Vol. 69 No. 2

66th Annual PLCA Convention, Feb.18-22, Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa, Bonita Springs, FL.

Most members of the Pipe Line Contractors Association (PLCA) were busy throughout 2013 with work in energy shale fields contributing a significant portion of the workload, said association President John Allen.

“Records of man hours worked,” said Allen, “show a total slightly higher than 2012 with some contractors working at near-capacity. However, most of us have the capability to take on more work.”

Allen said the Marcellus plays in the northeast and those in North Dakota currently are the busiest. Completion of the south Keystone pipeline segment kept member contractors busy.

Allen said contractor membership remained stable in 2013 with an increase in the number of supporting associate members.

John Allen, 2013 PLCA President
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Formed in 1948 to assist its members with safety programs and labor relations related to the pipeline construction industry, PLCA has been negotiating labor agreements since 1949. Since that time, it has negotiated and administered collective bargaining labor contracts with the international unions representing the four crafts of employees involved in pipeline construction: Laborers International Union of North America, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters, and the International Union of Operating Engineers.

“Agreements were in place with the four unions in 2013, but must be renegotiated in 2014,” said Allen. “That’s a primary item of business this year and we began preparations before the first of the year.”

Labor needed

Shortages of skilled labor are impacting PLCA members, particularly operators and welders, Allen said. In conjunction with the unions, PLCA continues to develop training programs to help increase the number of qualified workers available.

Safety remains a high priority with the association and its individual members with a continuing emphasis on training about safe working practices. PLCA training videos are available to members.

PLCA publishes a weekly newsletter and a labor newsletter to keep members current with industry information and labor matters. In conjunction with the University of Texas at Arlington, the association publishes the Pipe Line Construction manual.

PLCA’s scholarship program also continues to grow. The biggest source of scholarship funds, said Allen, are auctions or raffles held each year at the PLCA annual convention.