In stand for people and planet over profit, green groups back oil worker strike

Lauren McCauley | Common Dreams | February 9, 2015

In what may seem like an unlikely alliance, environmental groups are throwing their full support behind oil industry workers who on Sunday announced a widespread work stoppage over complaints that Big Oil companies "value production and profit over health and safety."

The strike, which marks the largest national strike of oil workers since 1980, was called by the United Steelworkers Union (USW) after negotiations with Royal Dutch Shell, which is leading the industry-wide bargaining effort, broke down.

"The oil companies do not want to work with us to improve the workplace and safety at oil refineries and facilities," said USW International vice president of administration Tom Conway in a statement announcing the strike. Conway said the problem is that oil companies "are too greedy to make a positive change in the workplace and they continue to value production and profit over health and safety, workers and the community."

Workers from nine refineries across the U.S. have committed to the stoppage and, so far, the strike has caused one refinery to suspend its operations—the Tesoro Martinez Refinery in Martinez, California. The strike has been called at five Texas-based refineries, two California sites, and one each in Kentucky and Washington state....more