Updated: January 21, 2021 10:12 PM
Created: January 21, 2021 05:18 PM
Nearly 200 workers went on strike at the Marathon Refinery in St. Paul Park Thursday.
According to a release from Teamsters Local 120, a union representing the workers, the strike is in response to workplace safety concerns and what the union says are "unfair labor practices."
Teamsters Local 120 Business Agent Scott Kroona says that the company is demanding operation changes that the union says create major safety concerns. The union also states the company is refusing to bargain over the impacts of those changes.
"Marathon wants to use lowest bidder subcontractors for jobs that are safety-sensitive. They want to add more workload to already overloaded positions. That's just to name a couple of their demands. Especially after the refinery explosion in Superior, Wisconsin a few years ago, we aren't willing to take those risks," Kroona said.
Kroona is referring to an April 2018 explosion at the Husky refinery in Superior, Wisconsin that led to several work injuries and residential evacuations in the city.
Marathon Petroleum Corporation issued the following statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, Thursday night:
"Marathon Petroleum was notified late this afternoon that the Teamsters-represented employees at our St. Paul Park refinery intended to strike this evening. We are fully prepared and have comprehensive contingency plans in place to safely operate the St. Paul Park refinery with trained and qualified personnel, while maintaining our vigilant focus on compliance, reliability and care for the environment. We do not anticipate supply disruptions in Minnesota or the Midwest region and expect to continue meeting our commitments to produce transportation fuels for those who depend on us."
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