President's Corner


January 2021 Light at the End of the Tunnel

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HydroChemPSC Employees at BP’s Whiting Refinery Vote to Join Local 150

On January 4th, a group of 33 workers employed by HydroChemPSC voted for Local 150 to serve as their exclusive bargaining representative. These workers perform industrial cleaning and hydro-excavation work inside BP’s Whiting, Indiana refinery.

In 2018, BP demanded wage concessions from all unions representing workers in the Whiting refinery. Local 150 refused due to the growing profits of the refinery as well as the alternative proposals the union provided BP to streamline costs without reducing wages or staffing levels.

BP’s response was to ensure Local 150 that if wage concessions were not given, it would award work within the refinery to non-signatory contractors. HydroChemPSC was the first non-signatory contractor brought in after being awarded work previously performed by Badger Daylighting.

Local 150 organizers and business agents approached HydroChemPSC employees about the benefits of union representation, and they voted by more than a two-to-one margin in a National Labor Relations Board election in favor of union representation.

“The effort to undercut organized labor in order to lower wages and increase profits has failed because workers will always recognize a better deal when they see it,” said James M. Sweeney, President-Business Manager of Local 150. “We protected our members’ wages when concessions were demanded, and we protected members’ jobs by reversing efforts to expand a non-union workforce within the refinery.”

Despite many other building trades unions’ acceptance of wage concessions, BP awarded work to non-signatory contractors performing their scope of work as well.

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