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Union Members Protest BP Hirings

Published: Oct. 5, 2020 at 12:55 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) -

Local 50 of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry represents about 1500 workers.

Leaders are hoping a protest today at the refinery will prompt company leadership to rethink bringing in outside workers.

“We have a couple of people out of work and there’s a good opportunity for us to make some money here for our families and they’ve decided to outsource some of our jobs,” says union member Zach Fox.

In fact, 140 workers from the union are out of a job as part of BP’s cost-cutting measures.

Union leaders say the hiring plan poses a big health threat to the workers already on-site and will hurt the local economy.

“I think its nice to keep the work in our community with some of our brothers and sisters that live here and pay taxes here go to the local businesses and show our support,” says Fox.

The union says it wants to open up talks with the company to find a better, safer way to meet the needs on both sides of the bargaining table.

“I’d recommend to hire locally and investigate how we can cut the cost a little bit more for the refinery to keep them more operable,” says lifetime union member, Kevin Ferguson.

We did reach out to BP, a company spokesperson says, in part:

"We have a long history of providing thousands of good paying jobs to local workers and can only continue to do this if we have a competitive business. The refinery is planning to invite qualified non-union contractors with proven safety and performance records to participate in sourcing activities for select refinery work. "

Kevin Ferguson has been in the union for almost 45 years.

He says the refinery is part of the fabric of the local community and should stay that way.

“I’ve been in it for 44 years. My father was a member of this union as well. Our ancestors built this refinery from the ground back in the day,” says Ferguson.

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