(HARRISBURG) On Friday, June 21, the Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) oil refinery was damaged after an explosion in one of the facility’s units; because of the incredible work and training of the refinery workers, there were no fatalities. Now their jobs and thousands more throughout their community are at stake.
On June 26th, PES announced the closure of the refinery and the layoff of its workers.
In southeast Pennsylvania, nearly 2,000 workers are directly employed by PES and thousands of regional jobs are dependent on the refinery. For every 100 refinery jobs, the local economy could stand to lose nearly $1 billion; with the shutdown of the entire facility, the region faces a major economic blow.
The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, on behalf of the 700,000 union members we represent, joins our brothers and sisters of United Steelworkers Local 10-1, in calling for action to preserve these jobs, complete the ongoing investigations, and find a solution that treats these workers the dignity they deserve.
PA AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale remarked, “These jobs are good-paying family sustaining jobs that support an entire community. The sudden closure of the plant without warning or notice to the employees shirks PES’ economic responsibility. Tens of thousands of jobs will be affected by this position, from local businesses to the cost of refined gasoline and heating oil. We need accountability”.
Secretary-Treasurer and USW member Frank Snyder added, “It appears PES is using this catastrophic incident, in which the refinery workers heroically and expediently shut down the unit, all at the risk of their own injury and death, as well as the broader community to cut and run. While we hope PES reconsiders their abrupt decision, we must do everything possible to ensure lateral employment opportunities, job retraining, and all other human needs support is extended to these workers. These men and women are not simply members. They are my friends. “
PA AFL-CIO Media Contact: Samantha Shewmaker, 717-917-0538, firstname.lastname@example.org