LIMA — The Cenovus (formerly Husky) Lima Refinery will be bringing in workers this fall to help with their annual turnaround and that’s upset a local labor organization.
“We continue to prepare the fall turnaround, which is critical for safe and reliable operation,” said Reg Curren, senior advisor, media and issues management for Cenovus, in an email to The Lima News. “As we have said previously, contractors are selected based on a number of criteria, including safety, technical expertise and related experience. We hired contractors for this work who best met our criteria.”
Rick Perdue, president of the Lima Building and Construction Trades Council says their union members can do the job.
“Right now we do have people out there doing maintenance work. That’s continuing on. But what they do when they did come in to do the turnaround, they’re bringing in people from out of state to do that. They’re supposed to bring in around 3,000 workers from around Texas,” Perdue said.
Perdue says Cenovus could have gone with local workers like they’ve done in the past to do the turnaround.
“We have never had a major issue in having enough people power and with that being said we do have people that are all around here. Three thousand workers, that’s not just one individual craft, that’s over numerous crafts. You would have some laborers, electricians, pipefitters, boilermakers so you’re looking at maybe somewhere like three to 400 per craft or something like that. Whether it be coming from Toledo or Dayton or maybe Columbus or Fort Wayne, we would be able to man that with pretty much local people,” Perdue said.
But Cenovus claims the work they need to have done is something that not everybody can do.
“This temporary work is specialized and most of the people who do it are based outside the local area. This has been true for our turnarounds whether workers are represented by building trade unions or not,” Curren said in his email.
Perdue wants to make the public aware of what’s going on at the Lima Refinery.
“Not only our own local members here that are going to miss out on some of those hours, but the members that live here. They’re the ones that keep the community going, they’re the ones that are paying the property taxes, they’re the ones that are buying cars, they’re the ones that’s going to the eating establishments all year round and you know their kids are the ones that go to school here. When that many people are coming in from out of state, they’re coming in here, they’re making their money, they’re leaving their money and leaving the local area,” Perdue said.
Cenovus isn’t ruling out using union members in the future.
“We continue to work with the Lima Building Trades on ways to be more successful on all criteria for future work,” Curren stated.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.