As a worker at a chemical plant on the refinery complex I witness the economic value of saving this vital industry not only in jobs but tax dollars generated.
If we take a trip down memory lane we can understand the tenacity of Mayor Berger. When BP announced they were going to close their Lima facility the mayor was there fighting to keep it open. They were told that the state would not involve itself without the approval of BP.
A payroll of $31 million would disappear from our community from just facility workers employment. Gone would be 455 jobs averaging some $70,000 a year in wages and benefits. Another 1,000 to 2,000 jobs would also be lost from companies doing business with the facility. Local utilities would lose up to $25 million in revenue that could mean loss of jobs in those areas. Let’s not forget a school system that would lose its tax base from the facility closure in real estate property taxes.
Ask yourself how many have retired from the facility because it didn’t close. And yes, there are still people working there today planning on retirement in their future. Look at the other industries in that location that would not be there if it weren’t for the facility having stayed open and now known as Husky Refinery. How many fewer shopping dollars affecting our community?
We must also remember the union employees actually improved productivity by being allowed to work as a team with management who wanted to work with them to make the plant successful.
The plant is still here. David Beger deserves our support.
Jason Carter, Lima