The Oilworker: December 2019


December Update from the NOBP Chair

Brothers and Sisters,

As we celebrate this holiday season, I want to make sure you are aware of an unfortunate incident that happened at the TPC plant in Port Neches, Texas, on Nov. 27, 2019, where an explosion caused a fire. 

Although there were no fatalities, there were multiple injuries and devastating damage to the surrounding community as well as a prolonged evacuation over the Thanksgiving weekend.  While it is too early to know the cause of the incident, it is an all too familiar reminder of the hazards in our workplaces. 

It’s times like these that remind us why we must constantly fight for safer workplaces, a fight that we have not given up, despite the EPA’s recent rollback of the Chemical Safety Rule.  I encourage you to check out USW International President Tom Conway’s recent blog on these changes, as they have serious consequences for our workplaces and our communities.  

Last month a bankruptcy judge approved a process for the sale of the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) refinery, which resolved our union’s objections regarding transparency and communication.

Our union on Nov. 27 submitted comments to the EPA on proposed changes to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Program, encouraging the agency to weigh the impact on refinery workers when considering alterations to RFS policy. You can read the full text of these comments here.

Finally, I want to wish everyone Happy Holidays, and I hope that you are able to enjoy them with family and loved ones.  Please keep the members and families of Local 228 in Port Neches in your thoughts as they go through this holiday season dealing with this incident and the aftermath.

In solidarity,

Mike Smith
NOBP Chair

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor R.J. Hufnagel

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222