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Indiana refinery workers on strike

By J Burger

USW Local 7-1 hits the picket lines against unsafe BP

USW Local 7-1 president Dave Danko speaking on strike issues.

Whiting, IN – At midnight, Feb. 7, 1100 workers at the BP refinery here went on an Unfair Labor Practice strike, citing the company’s poor record at keeping workers safe on the job. Steelworkers Local 7-1 joins the picket lines today as does the local union in Toledo, Ohio, bringing the total to over 5000 nationwide on strike as of today.

Local President Dave Danko said, “Workers are taking a stand on staffing and excessive overtime required by BP.” He said the issue of sub-contracting loomed large in negotiations because the oil company is bringing in outside contractors to do routine maintenance when union steelworkers used to do the work.

“With short-staffing and our members working overtime, they cannot be freed up for training. This sets the stage for the company to bring in outside contractors to do our work, jeopardizing safety,” Danko said.

All of the local issues with BP will have to be resolved in the national negotiations. The last meeting with the company negotiators was on Feb. 6.

Bystanders on the picket lines spoke of seeing scab workers coming into the plant with license plates from as far as Pennsylvania, Georgia, Minnesota and Virginia.

When pressed for how long the this strike may go, Danko said, “We will be here as long as it takes.” Pickets are stationed at 10 gates spread around the massive refinery property and they are staffed 24 hours a day.

On the picket lines in Whiting, IN.

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