The Oilworker: September 2020


A message from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

I want to start this Oil Worker by sending our thoughts and prayers to the families in the South dealing with the impact of Hurricane Laura. Many of our members’ homes and workplaces were in the storm’s path and have seen significant damage.

While the price of oil has seemed to stabilize, the industry continues to scramble as it deals with the aftermath of the Russia/Saudi price war and the decrease in demand from the Covid-19 pandemic.  The various companies are dealing with these difficulties differently, which presents a variety of challenges for our members. 

Last month our members at Local 5 in Martinez received notice that Marathon will be indefinitely idling the Martinez refinery and chemical plant.  The company will be transitioning the facility to a terminal, and the number of positions, while still being determined, will be significantly impacted.

We were also notified by HollyFrontier that their Cheyenne Refinery would be transitioning to a renewable diesel plant, leading to a significant layoff.  While this was not necessarily due to Covid, as with Martinez, we are working with the companies, additional locals and others in the industry to lessen the impact to our members.

BP completed the sale of its Alaska production group to Hilcorp on July 1, 2020, and we were able to successfully come to an agreement on benefits with the new owner. We then received notice that BP sold its entire petrochemical business, including the BP Texas City chemical plant, to Ineos.  We started discussions regarding these workers and fully expect that Ineos will honor our successorship LOA.

Exxon announced that they intend to suspend the employer match of 7 percent to employees’ 401(k) plans.  Upon notification, the Council demanded to bargain.  While Exxon refused to bargain with the Council, it is bargaining on a site-by-site basis.  The Council is working together so that it can coordinate across the different tables.

NOBP in 2022 is going to be a little different, as the lead company changed. We came to an agreement with Marathon to be the lead company, taking the place of Shell which has represented the industry over the past 20 years.

With the industry and our lives turned upside-down over the past five months, I wanted to end on a good note and let everyone know that Local 624 at Husky Energy’s refinery in Lima, Ohio, completed their long and difficult round of bargaining and ratified their contract.

Thank you to all of you who have worked so hard to keep our workplaces safe and healthy. It’s been difficult the past months, but our solidarity is still strong and will carry us forward.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith

NOBP Chair

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