LIMA — Members of Lima’s LIUNA local 329 union were supposed to hold a town hall meeting with Cenovus Refinery officials on Thursday night. The only problem was that the invited parties failed to show up.
The meeting was another chapter in the ongoing fight to stop the refinery from outsourcing jobs for the fall turnover. As many as 3,000 refinery jobs are set to be outsourced from other states by Cenovus, leaving Ohio workers to look elsewhere for work. Last week, the group was outside of the refinery making their voices heard.
Tim LuceWireman, the business manager for local 329, said that their fight is not just one for right now, but for the future of Ohio jobs, even though the refinery has been unwilling to budge.
“The next part of this is, what about the next shutdown, the next turnaround?” he said. “Will they again bring in workers from other states to replace Ohio workers, and will that economic impact be felt by the whole Lima community, and Allen County and the whole state of Ohio?”
Other members of the community came out to show their support for the union, including Lima City Councilman Dr. Derry Glenn and Ohio 4th District Congressional candidate Jeff Sites.
“In the future when (outsourced workers) all leave, (the union) is still going to be here, and they’re going to turn to you,” Sites told the group. “And you’re going to rub it in their noses that we are still here and we care about this refinery, and we want to see it here for another 136 years.”
Also shared at the meeting was Cenovus’ reasoning for not attending the meeting.
“As you know we have met monthly with the Lima building trades for much of this year, and our goal is to help the trades be more successful on future days,” the email from Cenovus to the union read. “We also participate in regular business dealings with the trades, contractors and companies of which we discuss how a service provider can improve their departments.”
The communication ended by saying that Cenovus hopes to fulfill the request for a meeting in the near future. In the meantime, local 329 continues to ramp up efforts to make the public aware of the issue, and more meetings and demonstrations will be coming soon, according to union organizer Taft Mangas.