from the you-made-your-bed... dept.
Reuters reports that managers at US oil refineries are going to the mats, sleeping on recently purchased mattresses inside rental trailers, as refinery workers enter the third week of their strike at nine US oil refineries that experts and some employees say raises concerns over safety and operations. For months, retired refinery worker John Ostberg from BP's Toledo Refinery has been warning his bosses in emails about their plans to run the refineries with replacement workers and supervisors if a strike occurred. He fears that replacement workers are not properly trained, or too far removed from the frontlines, to respond to unit upsets and other problems that can escalate quickly without experienced intervention. “Management says it’s safe. I disagree,” says Ostberg.
At least three of the nine US oil refineries targeted by a nationwide strike of USW members have reported upsets and unplanned repairs since their workers walked out on February 1 and one of the refineries has shut down completely. Criff Reyes, who has worked Tesoro's Martinez Refinery alkylation unit for 16 years, says he believes that Tesoro opted to shut down the plant — rather than restart it following maintenance — because managers are not qualified or experienced enough to run it after about 400 USW members walked out. Meanwhile Ostberg, who helped run the refinery operating center (ROC) — the heart of the plant — warns that if there is a problem with one unit at the refinery, it can quickly grow to other units and often takes more manpower to put under control. “I sit behind a blast-proof wall, so I’m not worried about my safety," says Ostberg. "But I fear for everyone else.”