DuraLabel's Weekly Safety News

Blog Author Angelique Sanders

Weekly safety news. Stay in touch with regulations from OSHA, NFPA, and other safety codes. Find out about other companies' best and worst practices. We scour the internet to provide you with helpful training resources and the latest safety information.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Should Safety Laws Be Used To Give One Group of Workers An Advantage Over Other Workers?

California labor union feud lands on Governor Brown’s desk

The Sacramento Bee is reporting on a bill that has reached California Governor Jerry Brown's Desk.  The bill was submitted to the legislature following the disastrous Chevron refinery fire. The Sacramento Bee reports:

"The state’s building trades unions – carpenters, plumbers, electricians, etc. – sponsored legislation that would require construction work on oil refineries to be done by a 'skilled and trained workforce.'"

The problem is that bill defines a 'skilled and trained workforce' in a very detailed way that exactly matches the training done in the apprenticeship programs run by the State Building and Construction Trades Council’s member unions.  This prevents other unions and, of course, non-union workers, from working in refineries.

A particular problem is this bill would prevent members of the United Steelworkers Union from working in refineries.  The United Steelworkers is the union that currently represents 5,000 refinery workers in the state, including those who do the maintenance work.  This means that refineries would need to hire outside contractors instead of using their own employees to do maintenance work.

What is also interesting is that this bill addresses a problem that does not exist.  The Chevron refinery pipe explosion did not result from problems with maintenance work. It resulted from undetected corrosion that weakened the pipe.

So we have a bill that favors one group over another, taking work away from that group and giving it to another group of workers, while not really addressing any safety issues.  What do you think about this?

Use the link below to leave a comment with your thoughts.

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posted by Steve Hudgik
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