USW Affirms Commitment to Operation of PES Refinery after Fire

CONTACT: Tony Montana, (412) 562-2592, tmontana@usw.org

The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the union has committed to work with investigators, government agencies and Philadelphia Energy Solutions, Inc. (PES) management to safely resume production after a fire late last week caused extensive damage to the oil refinery.

USW International Vice President Tom Conway said that although the fire created a spectacle that could be seen from miles away in the early morning hours of Friday, June 21, 2019, permanently closing the east coast’s largest oil refinery would have lasting, disastrous consequences for the entire country.

“Starting with almost 2,000 workers directly employed by PES and tens of thousands more whose employment depends on the refinery to some degree, closing the facility would have an immediate and deep impact on Philadelphia and the surrounding community,” Conway said. “Along the east coast and across the country, the cost of home heating oil, diesel, gasoline and other products will increase dramatically.”

USW Local 10-1 President Ryan O’Callaghan said that the union will assist in the ongoing investigation to ensure that production can resume without jeopardizing the safety of refinery workers, the surrounding community or the environment.

“Our highly skilled, expertly trained and experienced workforce prevented catastrophic injuries or fatalities last week,” O’Callaghan said. “We must look forward to repairing and operating this refinery safely and without negative environmental effects.”

“Without our production, the east coast of the U.S. would depend on Europe for its supply of refined products, which would compromise our economic and national security,” he said.

The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.

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Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222