KGMI News Reporting
By Karen Taylor
ANACORTES, Wash. — Steel workers are still on strike at the Tesoro refinery in Anacortes and the strikes could make their way up to Whatcom County.
Ryan Anderson with the local union at Anacortes says it’s not about money for them, it’s about safety. He says many refineries are critically understaffed and they are forced to put in 12 to 16 hour days up to 13 days in a row.
He says they are also concerned about the use of temporary contract workers, who are just as skilled but have nowhere near the same amount of rigorous training that union workers have.
They have now been on strike for about a month. A 2010 explosion at the refinery killed seven workers.
Anderson says they’re waiting to see whether Shell, which is representing the oil industry, will schedule another meeting with the union at the national level soon.
He says Philips 66 up here could end up in the same boat soon, as that refinery keeps extending its expiring contract with workers there.