M. Dan Murphy Elected President At PLCA’s 64th Annual Convention

By Oliver Klinger, Publisher | April 2012, Vol. 67 No. 4
2011 PLCA President Chris Leines and his wife, Wendy, of Minnesota Limited LLC.

Chris Leines, outgoing president of the Pipe Line Contractors Association and president of Minnesota Limited LLC, welcomed about 550 delegates to the Park Hyatt Aviara on Feb. 21 to 25, in Carlsbad, CA. It was another large turnout for the association’s 64th annual meeting.

Leines remarked that his year as president started with “high expectations for a busy construction season and a lot of work on labor negotiations.” Collectively as an association, contractor members installed 3,307 miles of new pipeline and completed 722 miles of testing and rehab. Estimated dollar volume was $3.828 billion. This was a significant increase over 2010. In 2011 members also accumulated 6.353 million UA man hours.

The PLCA labor committee was busy this past year negotiating agreements with the welders, laborers and teamsters unions. Three-year agreements were reached with the laborers and welders which will carry through early 2014.

Leines noted that the Teamster negotiations proved more complex. “The association faced a new issue this year of dealing with Teamster pension fund withdraw liability. We were prompted to make difficult decisions regarding the association and our future relationship with the Teamsters’ failing Central States Pension Fund. The labor committee came to the decision that it was prudent to withdraw from the fund to mitigate future liability. The PLCA, as a group, was left with the unenviable position to withdraw and pay large sums of money now, or wait and pay more later.”

In November, the PLCA instructed its regular members to send letters to the Central States Pension Fund notifying them that members were withdrawing. The PLCA is negotiating with the Teamsters to find a safe location to accrue future PLCA Teamster pension contributions.

Leines thanked labor committee members for their hard work during the past year. Members included Charlie Joyce, John Allen, Greg Curran, Bob Johnston, Scott Summers, Don Thorn, Bob Westphal, Brian Ganske, Dan Murphy and Ronnie Wise.

The Keystone XL Pipeline delay was on everyone’s mind and Leines point out that “it is a disgrace that the politicians and the current administration have overly politicized this issue. The PLCA and the trade unions have worked together to help keep the approval process moving forward. Yet still, we are facing roadblocks with environmentalists and various governmental agencies.”

Despite the Keystone permitting issue, Leines predicted a strong outlook for the industry for the next several years based on the developing shale markets, crude oil expansions and the pipeline integrity market.