Refinery workers look to organize for better pay and training

Refinery workers are taking issue with Marathon after the oil company recently hired low skill, untrained workers to work in the refinery. Workers are worried the decision may cause safety issues.

Laborers International Union of North America Minnesota and North Dakota Campaign Director Kevin Pranis joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss utility scale renewable energy, pipelines and workers at the Marathon refineries.

Union activity on utility scale renewable energy and pipeline projects

In the north central states of Minnesota and North Dakota, Pranis said much of the work in the renewable energy industry is still being done by non-union labor. In order to change this it will be important to connect with workers and contractors.

Members of the Laborers Union in Minnesota and North Dakota work on pipelines, but there are still many non-union workers laboring in this field. Pranis would like to organize these workers and bring them into their union.

New hirings at Marathon refineries

Workers at a Marathon refinery were being replaced with low skilled workers who had much less training and experience than the highly skilled and highly trained workers who were there. Marathon was searching for ways to save money and labor was where they decided to thin things out.

Pranis explained why working in a refinery is dangerous work. The chemicals being used can be harmful, heights are encountered, tight spaces are presented and much more. Hiring low skilled workers puts them in harm’s way as well as the trained and experienced workers who will have to labor with them.

Pranis said the Laborers Union plans to fight on behalf of the workers who will be affected. This includes fighting for better working conditions, better pay and benefits and improved job security.


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