USW Calls on Newsom Administration to Protect Oil Workers, Communities

Contact: Jess Kamm Broomell, (412) 562-2444,

The United Steelworkers union (USW) provided detailed recommendations to the administration of California Gov. Gavin Newsom in advance of its “Just Transition Roadmap,” urging it to include substantial protections for oil production workers and their communities.

“The USW represents 5,500 highly skilled workers in California’s oil refineries, each of whom has a high stake in ensuring that any changes to the state’s energy policy consider workers and their families,” said Gaylan Prescott, director of USW District 12, which includes California and 10 other Western states.

The state must prioritize workers and communities and ensure the preservation of good, family-supporting jobs, Prescott said in a letter to Newsom’s office. In his letter, Prescott pointed out the nation’s failed history of helping workers navigate through economic transitions.

“California has the ability to change that regrettable history,” Prescott said. “Our union is eager to work with you to grow union jobs, raise wages, improve benefits, and assist companies that treat workers fairly.”

The USW’s recommendations include planning for a future with continued demand for petroleum products, ensuring that economic development can replace any jobs lost with similar high-quality jobs, prioritizing relevant job-training and job-placement programs, providing long-term assistance to dislocated workers, and preserving communities and public resources.

Specifically, the USW is calling for a program for oil production workers that is easy to access and presumes eligibility. The program should ensure wage replacement, pension guarantees and access to health care, as well as retraining and relocation support.

Most of all, to achieve these goals, the administration must talk to workers whose jobs could be affected by the transition plan, which the administration expects to release in July, Prescott said.

Speaking directly to workers in the oil industry will allow California officials to “understand the fear and the needs that those workers would have,” he said.

To read the USW’s full letter to the Newsom administration, visit the following link:

The USW represents 850,000 workers 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 health care, public sector, higher education, tech and service occupations.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

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