St. Paul refinery workers remain locked out following short strike

Industrial work is some of the most difficult and dangerous work in the U.S. The training and safety precautions needed to work in a safe manner are great, but some companies are not meeting their responsibility of providing a safe work environment.

Workers at one Marathon refinery were recently locked out after demonstrating a one-day strike. Teamsters Local 120 Chief Union Steward Dean Benson joined AWF Union Podcast to discuss the strike, the lockout, what the workers need to work safely and more.

Marathon refinery strike

Teamsters Local 120 represents some 200 members at the Marathon St. Paul Park refinery. These workers have been out since Jan. 21 after demonstrating a one-day strike. Benson said a letter was sent saying the workers would return following the strike. However, when they returned, their keycards were deactivated and police told them to leave or they would be considered trespassers.

Since the January strike, Local 120 has been negotiating for improved working conditions, against job cuts and against workload increases. Benson said wages have not been discussed and usually are not until the end because safety and conditions are the top priority.

Safety in a refinery

Benson explained how refinery work is dangerous. Workers encounter heights, dangerous chemicals, a highly combustible environment  and more. Without proper training it is very easy to get hurt performing refinery work.

As a way to limit on-the-job injury, Benson said the union is working to decrease the workload of refinery workers. This workplace is not one to be a jack of all trades, adding it is better to be an expert on one or two tasks than to be able to somewhat handle a multitude of tasks.

Support for the refinery workers

Benson said support for the refinery workers has been great. While temporary labor is working at the factory, Local 120 and other Teamsters local unions have been hosting rallies, including one at the St. Paul Park refinery.

He concluded by thanking U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan for speaking at a rally in Toledo, Ohio and is looking forward to getting the refinery workers what they deserve.


America’s Work Force Radio Podcast is available on iTunes, Google Play and wherever you stream your podcasts.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Google Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Listen on iHeart Radio


AMERICA’S WORK FORCE IS THE ONLY DAILY LABOR-RADIO PROGRAM IN THE US AND HAS BEEN ON THE AIR SINCE 1993, SUPPLYING LISTENERS WITH USEFUL, RELEVANT INPUT INTO THEIR DAILY LIVES THROUGH FACT-FINDING FEATURES, IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS, INFORMATIVE NEWS SEGMENTS AND PRACTICAL CONSUMER REPORTS. AMERICA’S WORK FORCE IS COMMITTED TO PROVIDING AN ACCESSIBLE VENUE IN WHICH AMERICA’S WORKERS AND THEIR FAMILIES CAN HEAR DISCUSSION ON IMPORTANT, RELEVANT TOPICS SUCH AS EMPLOYMENT, HEALTHCARE, LEGISLATIVE ACTION, LABOR-MANAGEMENT RELATIONS, CORPORATE PRACTICES, FINANCES, LOCAL AND NATIONAL POLITICS, CONSUMER REPORTS AND LABOR ISSUES.

AMERICA’S WORK FORCE RADIO IS BROUGHT TO YOU IN PART BY OUR SPONSORS AMERICAN FEDERATION OF GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES, AFL-CIO, AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS, BMA MEDIA GROUP, COLUMBUS-CENTRAL OHIO BUILDING AND CONSTRUCTION TRADES COUNCIL, COMMUNICATION WORKERS OF AMERICA, HEAT AND FROST INSULATORS AND ALLIED WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF MACHINISTS AND AEROSPACE WORKERS, INTERNATIONAL UNION OF PAINTERS AND ALLIED TRADES DISTRICT COUNCIL 6, KELLEY & FERRARO, LLP,  LABOR CITIZEN MAGAZINE, LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, NORTH COAST AREA LABOR FEDERATION, MARITIME TRADES DEPARTMENT, OHIO FEDERATION OF TEACHERS-AMERICAN FEDERATION OF TEACHERS, UNITED AUTO WORKERS, UNITED LABOR AGENCY, UNITED STEELWORKERS.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.