Steelworkers Union to Gov: Help Us Stave Off Refinery Shut Down

The United Steelworkers Union isn’t taking news that Tesoro is closing its Hawaii refinery lightly. 

The union delivered 5,000 petitions to Gov. Neil Abercrombie on Wednesday, asking him to help find a buyer for the Kapolei refinery, according to a union press release. 

Tesoro announced in January 2012 that it was exiting the Hawaii market and looking for a buyer for its refinery. But after a year-long search, the company said it was unable to find a suitable buyer.

From the press release: 

The activists also requested that the governor appoint a USW representative to his committee that is examining the effect of a Tesoro refinery closure on the Hawaii economy. The USW represents the majority of workers at the refinery.

The USW expects a response from the governor.

"Shutting down the Tesoro Kapolei refinery is going to heavily impact our community," said Local 12-591 unit chair Pat Koge. "Not only will 210 high-paid refinery jobs be lost, but so will  2,000 other jobs that are dependent on the refinery and workers’ paychecks." l.

"Turning the refinery into a terminal and importing fuel is likely to bring higher gas prices and possibly supply problems. Why should the fuel be refined overseas when we can do it right here at home and not throw people out of work?" Koge said.

(Photo: Keoki Kalanai)

- Sophie Cocke

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