Company Bars USW Representatives, Brazilian Labor Leader from Meeting
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San Ramon, Calif.—United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5 member Mike Smith presented a safety resolution to Chevron stockholders today while the company denied two other USW representatives and a Brazilian labor leader access to the meeting.
The USW representatives and João Antonio de Moraes, national coordinator of the United Federation of Oil Workers (FUP) in Brazil, had proper credentials but were denied access because the company said they needed to take additional action to get into the meeting. Also, Chevron confiscated Smith’s prepared statement. Inside the meeting, the company shut down the question-and-answer session with people still waiting to speak.
“Chevron’s heavy-handed actions show a lack of transparency on their part,” said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers. “Moraes traveled a long way to speak to the shareholders about his union’s public civil suit in Brazil against Chevron.”
“They can take away my statement, but not my voice,” Smith said.
The USW’s safety resolution called on the company to tell investors what it is doing to reduce the risk of accidents on drilling rigs and at oil refineries. It drew 8 percent support in preliminary balloting.
“I was shocked the shareholders wouldn’t want to know the decisions Chevron was making that could hurt the stock price,” Smith said. “I’m an investor and I’d like to know if they were taking shortcuts on process safety. We still fight every day to make process safety the focus instead of personal safety so we can avoid major catastrophes. If we can guarantee our safety, that would guarantee the safety of communities around our refineries.”
Process safety relates to equipment reliability, inspection and testing and preventative maintenance, including stopping discharges of volatile materials into the air and ground.
Chevron would not let Moraes speak and he wanted to talk about his union’s lawsuit against the company in Brazil.
The USW represents some 1,400 Chevron workers at refineries in El Segundo, Calif., Richmond, Calif., and Salt Lake City, Utah.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, renewable and atomic energy, plus the service sector.
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