Australian trade unionists challenging the record of oil giant Chevron in its US home state have been welcomed by local activists, groups and politicians who share their concerns.
Shannon O’Keeffe, campaigns director for the ITF’s (International Transport Workers’ Federation’s) Sydney, Australia office and Will Tracey, assistant secretary for the MUA’s (Maritime Union of Australia’s) Western Branch, met on Wednesday with the mayor of the City of Richmond, location of the Chevron Richmond Refinery, which is the city’s major employer.
Richmond’s Mayor Gayle McLaughlin officially welcome the visiting trade unionists and applauded their plan to campaign globally to expose problems with Chevron’s liquefied natural gas project in Australia. She gave them an official proclamation on behalf of the city that said: ‘We echo your concerns about Chevron’s environmental, health, safety and labor standards and join hand in hand with you in calling for far great accountability from this oil giant to workers and communities everywhere’.
Will Tracey, MUA western branch assistant secretary, said: “I was shocked to learn that last year there was an explosion at the Richmond Refinery that almost killed 17 workers and sent 15,000 residents to hospital. Chevron is now on probation and subject to USD1 million in fines. When the Australian public and politicians learn about what happened in Richmond it will seriously undermine the façade that Chevron is a good corporate citizen.”
Shannon O’Keeffe, campaigns director for the ITF’s Sydney office added: “In Australia Chevron is suing the MUA and 15 of its members for taking action to ensure that their workplace was safe. It is clear from our meeting with the mayor that we have an obligation to stand together with Richmond and other communities to keep Chevron honest and ensure that it does not use its corporate weight against ordinary people who want safe workplaces, a clean environment and the right to have a voice about the impact of the company’s operations in their community.”
For more information please contact:
Shannon O’Keeffe on the visit to the USA. Tel: +61 420 928 780. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Darrin Barnett, for ITF Australia. Tel: +61 0428 119 703. Email:Darrin.Barnett@mua.org.au