USW Urges Governor Abercrombie to Include Union on Committee Examining Tesoro Refinery Closure in Kapolei, Hawaii

Feb 19, 2013, 17:15 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

USW Represents Majority of Workers at Refinery

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers Union (USW) today called on Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie to include the USW on a committee being formed to examine the closure of Tesoro's Kapolei refinery and its impact on the state. The committee will also examine coordinating efforts to save the refinery and other issues related to Hawaii's economy.


"We believe that it would be a huge mistake for your administration to exclude the United Steelworkers from this process," wrote USW International Vice President Gary Beevers and USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture.

The USW represents some 250 production and maintenance workers at the Kapolei refinery who are likely to lose their jobs if the facility is shut down.

"It doesn't make sense to exclude the USW on the governor's committee when we represent the majority of workers who will be affected by the refinery closure," Beevers said.

"Participation by the USW on the committee would be beneficial to Governor Abercrombie," LaVenture said. "Our union has shown it can partner with local, state and federal officials to save jobs and protect the local economy."

Last year the USW successfully partnered with local, state and federal officials on the East Coast to encourage Sunoco and ConocoPhillips to proactively sell their refineries, address regulatory issues in a sustainable way, and attract qualified buyers to operate two large refineries.

The USW also is willing to work with Governor Abercrombie on green energy solutions; however, refined petroleum products will remain an essential part of Hawaii's energy mix for years to come.

"Allowing this refinery to shut down only to create space for increased imports from less regulated refiners in India and Asia does nothing to address our shared concern for the environment. In fact, offshoring refining capacity will not only have a negative impact on the state's economy, it will dramatically increase the environmental impacts of oil consumption," Beevers and LaVenture wrote.

The USW awaits Governor Abercrombie's response and invitation to participate on the committee to examine the closure and coordinate the efforts to save the Kapolei refinery.

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

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, oil refining, atomic energy and the service sector.

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

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)