Displaced union workers hand out information at ExxonMobil refinery

2013-06-27T14:00:00Z 2013-06-28T10:00:04Z Displaced union workers hand out information at ExxonMobil refineryBy TOM HOWARD thoward@billingsgazette.com The Billings Gazette

Vicki Dickinson, who was laid off last month after ExxonMobil switched to a non-union contractor, was back outside the refinery gates Thursday morning, hoping to raise awareness about the plight of displaced workers.

Dickinson, a member of the Laborers Union, was among about 35 union workers who were let go when ExxonMobil switched contractors to do certain maintenance work at the refinery. Dickinson worked for LG Construction, a union contractor, which has been replaced by Brand Energy Solutions, a non-union contractor.

“I did so much for this employer. If they called me to come in early, I was here,” said Dickinson, who had worked for LG Construction for nearly 10 years.

More than a dozen workers who lost their jobs erected banners and distributed handbills as vehicles arrived at the refinery Thursday morning.

“(Brand Energy Solutions) has replaced local workers with low-wage people, some from out of state,” the handbill says in part.

Dickinson said her name has been placed on the out-of-work list at the union hall, but jobs have been few and far between.

Union members acknowledged that they don't have much recourse because ExxonMobil has the legal right to choose among contractors for maintenance.

Union officials said they heard that Brand Energy Solutions pays its workers $12 per hour with no benefits, less than half of what the union workers are paid.

They suspect that the new contractor has hired workers who aren’t well qualified, and they worry that ExxonMobil’s decision to cut costs will eventually put a strain on social service agencies because Brand's pay scale is too low to support a family.

So far The Gazette hasn’t been able to verify how much Brand Energy Solutions pays its employees.

An ExxonMobil spokesman refused to comment on personnel matters involving contractors and their employees. A telephone message left at Brand’s corporate headquarters wasn’t immediately returned.

Other workers said ExxonMobil’s decision to switch contractors has left them in a financial pinch.

Kurt Coder, a laborer, said he lost his job within days after his first son was born. He was called to work one day at Glendive, but opportunities have been sporadic.

Brian Evans said he had been looking to buy a house when he was laid off, and job opportunities have been scarce.

“I’ll go to Alaska if I have to, to get work,” Evans said. “I have a 1-1/2-year old at home.”

Copyright 2015 The Billings Gazette. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

No Comments Posted.

Comment policy

We provide this forum for readers to exchange ideas and opinions on the day's news. Passionate views, pointed criticism and critical thinking are welcome. Name-calling, crude language and abuse are not. You must be logged into a personal account on Facebook to comment (FAQ). Readers are responsible for their comments and abuse of this privilege will not be tolerated. We reserve the right, without warning or notification, to remove comments and block users we determine violate our Terms of Service. Comments reflect the opinions of the author - not those of The Billings Gazette or its parent company.

Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

More from the Gazette

Coffee shop manager came to Williston for love, not oil

Coffee shop manager came to Williston for love, not oil

February 22, 2015 7:00 am(0)
Brokers announce top producers

Brokers announce top producers

February 22, 2015 12:00 am Photos

Photos

(0)
Dailey and Heck in new positions at YBGR

Dailey and Heck in new positions at YBGR

February 22, 2015 12:00 am Photos

Photos

(0)
Several promoted at RBC's Billings office

Several promoted at RBC's Billings office

February 22, 2015 12:00 am Photos

Photos

(0)

UPS drivers honored

February 22, 2015 12:00 am(0)
Honors earned by Coldwell Banker associates

Honors earned by Coldwell Banker associates

February 22, 2015 12:00 am Photos

Photos

(0)
Drop in gas prices welcome relief for Billings-area suppliers

Drop in gas prices welcome relief for Billings-area suppliers

February 22, 2015 12:00 am Photos

Photos

Related

Related

(0)

Business digest

February 22, 2015 12:00 am(0)
Coal rarity for 2014: Cloud Peak posts profit

Coal rarity for 2014: Cloud Peak posts profit

February 19, 2015 5:00 am(0)

Exxon subsidiary penalized for $1.3M in audit dispute

February 18, 2015 3:41 pm(0)
Governor joins call for Superfund listing for aluminum plant

Governor joins call for Superfund listing for aluminum plant

February 18, 2015 3:39 pm(0)

North Dakota airports continue to see passenger increases

February 18, 2015 2:16 pm(0)
Copper company to resume exploration at Montana site

Copper company to resume exploration at Montana site

February 18, 2015 12:45 pm(0)
Lee touts continued digital growth in 2015

Lee touts continued digital growth in 2015

February 18, 2015 10:15 am(0)
Get weekly ads via e-mail

Deals & Offers

Featured Businesses