The Teamsters National Pipeline Agreement (TNPA) is a labor agreement covering all pipeline construction work in the United States. Pay rates under this agreement are based on “local rates” or composite rates if the work encompasses several Teamster jurisdictions. The typical work day is 10 hours a day six days a week.
When a project is in a local area, the local union with jurisdiction who can staff the project will refer local members to the contractor. In this case local hires are paid local wages and fringe benefits go to the appropriate local fringe benefit fund.
The TNPA allows contractors to bring in a certain number of their workers on all projects. These members are considered “travelers”. All travelers are covered under the National Pipeline Agreement and are paid the local wage rate; however, employer fringe benefit contributions for all travelers are paid directly to the Central States Benefit Funds. By having a single source for health and welfare and pension benefits, Teamster pipeline travelers are better able to attain and maintain benefit eligibility.
The work covered by the agreement includes typical Teamster jurisdiction. The majority of Teamster work involves the distribution of pipe. As an example “racking” pipe consists of moving pipe from someplace like a rail head or port to a storage site or pipe yard near the construction zone. Stringing pipe involves moving the pipe from the pipe yard to the specific construction work area. Much of the stringing is off road on a pipeline rightaway. Depending on the type of pipe it can be hauled on flat beds or high decks or steerable stringer trailers. Pipe lengths can be welded joints of up to 80 feet in length.
There is currently a need for trained pipeline workers. At the same time many experienced pipeline workers are retiring. We estimate there will be many well-paid work opportunities in the next several years for trained pipeline construction workers willing to travel. Many pipeline travelers have their own camp trailers or motor homes to live in near the work sites. Other pipeline travelers share apartments or hotel rooms – splitting the costs.