The Oilworker: October 2020


A message from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

I hope that you are all staying well as together we weather this uncertain time.

There have been significant shifts across the industry that impact both employment and the landscape for production.

Marathon began laying off hundreds of workers across the country, and Shell last month announced that it would cut approximately 10 percent of its workforce by 2022.

Eight of the world’s top oil companies have indicated that they will sell oil and gas fields and refineries worth more than $110 billion, while Phillips 66 announced that it intends to move its refinery in Rodeo, Calif., away from crude oil and instead produce renewable fuels.

Most importantly, as we continue to deal with Covid-19 at our work places and in our personal lives I wanted to take some time to talk about concerning cost-cutting measures we have seen some of our employers take.  

We know that companies will look to push out much needed maintenance work to help save money. However, we cannot let these cost-cutting actions lead to added health and safety risks in our plants, and we must use all of our resources and tools to fight this trend.   

This means we must all remain vigilant, and I’d encourage you to engage with our health and safety committees, USW health and safety representatives, PSM representatives and the USW Health, Safety and Environment Department.

From routine maintenance to scheduled turnaround work, everything is important in ensuring that our facilities run safely.  Our members are the essential workers out there every day working to keeping our plants running smoothly.

You can learn about workplace health and safety and many more topics at the USW’s first virtual education conference. While online trainings can never fully take the place of in-person classes, the conference offers an opportunity for members to participate in a wide range of workshops in a socially-distanced way. Registration is now open, and the conference will be held Nov. 17-18.

Finally, I’d encourage you all to check out the union’s recent call to upgrade the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, particularly as it pertains to storm protection for the Gulf Coast. Investing in this region will not only keep these communities safe but will also create jobs.

Please take care of yourselves and watch out for one another. Working together is our best chance for safer workplaces and long term economic recovery.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith

NOBP Chair

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