Tactic to run plant with replacement workers threatens to worsen spill, fire, explosion and flaring hazards
What: Richmond City Council vote on resolution calling for full compliance
with safety rules and ‘safe and orderly shutdown’ during strike
Where: Community Services Building, Richmond City Hall, 440 Civic Center
Drive, Richmond CA 94804
When: Tuesday, February 17, 2015; the Council Meeting begins at 6:30 PM.
Background: Oil refineries are complex and custom-built. Knowing how to operate one oil refinery’s equipment does not mean one knows how to operate the equipment at another refinery safely, especially when something goes wrong.
When refinery workers walk off the job during a strike the safe thing for the company to do is cooperate with them in a safe and orderly shutdown of the refinery. That is what happened at the Tesoro Golden Eagle refinery near Martinez during the ongoing strike. But if the company keeps running the refinery using replacement workers who have not previously operated it, the likelihood of a serious chemical spill, fire, explosion or flare emission incident can increase greatly. Chevron’s statements and strike preparations suggest that it plans to keep running the Richmond refinery in this more dangerous way.
The dangerous tactic, by threatening to undermine worker rights, also threatens to undermine the ‘just transition’ to sustainable energy that is needed to meet California’s greenhouse gas targets.
Exactly when a stop-work action might occur at the Richmond refinery is unknown at this time but it is reasonably likely to occur soon.
Communities for a Better Environment (CBE) supports the refinery workers strike. Please visit our web site at www.cbecal.org for more information about CBE’s position on this nationwide strike over worker rights, health and safety.