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10 March, 2015IndustriALL Global Union brought a message of solidarity to striking petrochemical workers in the USA this week.
The current conflict between multinational oil companies and the United Steelworkers is about health and safety conditions, and it is not just an issue in the USA. The relentless race-to-the-bottom mentality is being felt by oil and chemical workers worldwide.
This hazardous industry thinks only of short-term profits, and wants to make those profits with fewer workers, fewer direct employees, weaker benefits and wages, inhuman work schedules and dangerous working conditions.
Employers don't consider it important that workers get proper rest and a chance to connect with family and friends, they don't see that as a health and safety issue. They cut corners on engineering, they cut corners on maintenance, and do everything on lowest bid.
"IndustriALL stands shoulder to shoulder with its affiliate the USW on these issues. We demand that these multinational oil companies accept their responsibilities," said Brian Kohler, IndustriALL’s director of health, safety and sustainability in a solidarity visit to USW Local 7-1 picketers at the BP oil refinery, in Whiting, Indiana.
“We demand that workers be accepted as full partners in the design and implementation of health and safety policies, programs, and procedures. We want health and safety done WITH us, not TO us. The only people with the moral authority to assess a risk, are those who must accept it," said Kohler.
"That is what this fight is ultimately about: the safety and dignity of millions of workers worldwide!”