The Oilworker: March 2023

A Message From the NOBP Chair

I want to start by thanking everyone who sent donations to Local 346 in Toledo, Ohio, for our fallen brothers at the BP-Cenovus refinery.  As much as we would like to have Ben and Max alive and well, your support went a long way in comforting the families during this horrific time. 

I also want to commend Local 346 for their success in coordinating the donations. They undertook this work under incredibly difficult circumstances, and I know they will continue it well into the future.  

As the local stepped up to take care of the families and each other, they also actively participated in both the investigation into the tragedy and the sale of the plant to Cenovus, which closed on February 28, 2023.

Last week, OSHA released its citations, including 10 serious violations. Among the violations alleged in the citations, OSHA maintains that BP failed to meet process safety management procedures and inadequately trained workers to respond to the emergency. 

The USW appreciates OSHA’s work in investigating the deaths of two of our union brothers, and while no penalties or fines could ever make up for the lost human lives, we welcome their enforcement actions to hold BP accountable.

Moving forward, our union remains committed to working with OSHA and Cenovus to ensure this type of tragedy never happens again.

USW welcomes decision on Exxon

The USW earlier this month also welcomed an administrative law judge's decision that ExxonMobil bargained in bad faith with USW Locals 13-12 and 13-2001 in Baton Rouge, La., and Baytown, Texas.

The judge found the company violated federal labor law when it unilaterally suspended retirement contributions without bargaining in good faith, writing that management came to the table with “a mere pretense at negotiations.”

She ordered ExxonMobil to make each employee whole for the 401(k) matching contributions it failed to make between Oct. 1, 2020, and Oct. 1, 2021, and any interest and investment growth the contributions would have experienced.

As ever, our union remains committed to holding ExxonMobil accountable and will continue to fight for our members until they receive the compensation they earned.

Fighting for workers at Lyondell-Basell

Our union is also fighting for justice for workers at Lyondell-Basell after it misled the union about potential buyers for its Houston refinery.

The company announced last year that the facility would close by the end of 2023. The USW is unwilling to accept Lyondell’s abandonment of our members, and we will fight to save the refinery even if Lyondell won’t.

Biden admin greenlights Alaskan oil project

Finally, I wanted to flag for you that the Biden administration approved an Alaskan oil project that will produce up to 180,000/bpd. While it’s generated some controversy, ConocoPhillips’ Willow project has the potential to create up to 2,500 jobs during construction and 300 long-term jobs.

There are also plans to sell leases in the Gulf of Mexico as well as western states including Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico and others.

Thank you again for your continued solidarity. While we’ve faced many challenges in recent months, by working together, it’s clear that our efforts are making a difference.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith
NOPB Chair

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