[email protected] Since January of 2021, the Local Teamsters 120 has been locked out of the Marathon Refinery in St. Paul Park after they initiated a short strike over safety concerns inside the …
Since January of 2021, the Local Teamsters 120 has been locked out of the Marathon Refinery in St. Paul Park after they initiated a short strike over safety concerns inside the refinery. Sunday, April 25th, the Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters released a statement on their concerns of safety at the refinery and for the surrounding communities.
New Report Details Troubling Safety issues at the marathon refinery in St. Paul Park.
Saint Paul Park, MN A new study detailing the questionable safety practices employed at Marathon Oil Refinery in St Paul Park has caused the state’s professional firefighters to firmly express their concern. As the people who will be calling to any sort of emergency situation at the refinery, Firefighters are naturally opposed to cutting corners that shift, the risk on to emergency responders.
“The problems laid out in the report by Local Jobs North are deeply troubling,” said Chris Parsons, President of the Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters. See STATEMENT Page 3
From Page 1 “There appears to be long-running and systemic erosion of fire safety standards and practices at the refinery, and one need only look to the Husky Refinery fire in Superior Wisconsin to see why we are concerned.”
The Husky fire which happened in 2018, could be seen for miles around and caused an evacuation of residents within 10 miles in some directions. It took twelve hours for the firefighters to control the fire, which was ultimately found to be caused by poorly maintained valve. The Marathon refinery houses nearly 100 tons of hydrogen sulfide, which was a major concern in the Husky fire as well.
The new report details employee accounts of chemical spills and near miss incidents due to lack of training, reduction in personnel and inexperienced and lesser paid workers. The SPP Refinery has locked out many of its workers since February in a dispute over safety concerns, brought forward by the workers union, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, local 120.
“This report indicates that marathon is playing Russian roulette with the lives of its workers, the residents surrounding the refinery and the Mississippi River, eco system,” Parsons said. “Unfortunately, safety is usually the first casualty when corporations cut costs by favoring lower skilled workers.”
Parsons says the most troubling portion of the report is the refinery’s, seeming expectation that surrounding municipal fire departments can take up the slack of fire safety.
“Cottage Grove is the only nearby fire department with any full-time personnel, and then that’s only three people on staff per day. The rest of the response would be supplemented by volunteers. City departments are designed for structure fires. We don’t do large chemical fires, plain and simple. The firefighters would just be focused on evacuation during a large incident, and letting the fire burn out as during the Husky fire.”
The Minnesota Professional Fire Fighters (MPFF) are affiliated with the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF). The MPFF represents 1900 career firefighters, paramedics, and dispatchers in over 45 communities across the state.
MORE INFO: To get a copy of the Local Jobs North report any additional information or to set up an interview with Chris Parsons of MPFF please contact Nate, at 651230-3018, or Nate Dybvig 651.230.3018 or [email protected]