USW Campaign Helps to Save Hawaii Refinery

Par Petroleum Agrees to Purchase Tesoro Refinery, Logistics, Retail System

Jun 18, 2013, 15:46 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

PITTSBURGH, June 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) Union applauded the sale of Tesoro's Kapolei, Hawaii, refinery, logistics and retail system to Par Petroleum Corporation.


"This is wonderful news for our members, their families and the State of Hawaii," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "Now our members don't have to leave their family and friends in Hawaii to look for family-supporting jobs on the mainland. Their future in Hawaii bodes well for the state's economy as well.

"Our members and our union made this sale possible, but I want to also thank Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie (D), his staff and the Hawaii legislature for their support."

Per the successorship clause in the existing collective bargaining agreement, Par Petroleum will honor the existing three-year contract through its expiration date on January 31, 2015. None of the 119 production, maintenance and lab workers represented by Local 12-591 were laid off, and they all can continue their employment.

"We look forward to establishing a new relationship with Par Petroleum," said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads the union's oil sector. "Buying the refinery was a smart business decision. This is a great opportunity for the company to be profitable and fulfill Hawaii residents' and businesses' need for reasonably priced fuel."

Local 12-591 members played a key role in saving the refinery by writing letters to elected officials and lobbying them in Washington, D.C. to request help in making the conditions favorable for a new owner.  They also garnered thousands of signatures from Hawaii's residents in petitions to Governor Abercrombie and other elected officials.

"If it weren't for our members' hard work, persistence and solidarity this refinery sale would not have happened and Tesoro would have quietly turned the facility into an import terminal," said USW District 12 Director Bob LaVenture. "Everybody wins in this deal—our members, Hawaii citizens, the state and Par Petroleum."

This is the fourth refinery that the USW has helped to save. The other three were PBS Energy in Delaware City, Del., Monroe Energy LLC in Trainer, Pa., and Philadelphia Energy Solutions in Philadelphia, Pa.

"We are grateful for this sale of the refinery," said Pat Koge, Local 12-591 unit chair of the Tesoro group. "My members and I are excited about our future now. We thank everyone who has helped us along the way. We look forward to working with Par Petroleum."

The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. The union represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper and forestry, oil refining, atomic energy and the public and service sector.

Contact: Lynne Hancock, USW, 615-828-6169,

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)