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Union to challenge firings of 21 at Phillips 66 refinery

Union to challenge firings of 21 at Phillips 66 refinery

The United Steelworkers International union in Billings will file a grievance for 21 union workers who were fired from jobs at the Phillips 66 refinery on Wednesday, said Wade Johnson, union president, on Thursday.

"We believe these employees were wrongfully discharged. There is a grievance process. We intend to pursue that process, but we can discuss none of the details leading up to this or how we're going forward," Johnson said.

"They certainly were not given an option of keeping their jobs. So I would call that being fired," Johnson said.

Johnson verified that 21 union workers were terminated but said he could not confirm reports that three supervisors, who are not represented by the union, also were fired.

The union workers who were fired were pipefitters, welders and insulators and had worked at the refinery from two years to 37 years, Johnson said.

Rich Johnson, a Phillips 66 spokesman based in Houston, said the company took some individual personnel actions on Wednesday.

“I can tell you we took personnel actions against employees today,” Rich Johnson said. “But it is our company policy not to comment on personnel matters.”

The Phillips 66 spokesman also declined to comment about circumstances leading up to the firings.

“There is a lot of work to be done and we are far from finished,” Wade Johnson said. “I don’t want to jeopardize my workers and their chances of working for Phillips 66 again.”

The Billings refinery became part of Phillips 66 in April after ConocoPhillips, the world’s fourth-largest refiner, split by spinning off all of its refineries.

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Business editor for the Billings Gazette.

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