U.S. Oil Refinery Workers Striking for Safety

The U.S. oil worker strike has entered its second month with just under 7,000 refinery workers now on the picket lines. They come from 15 plants across seven states and are represented by the United Steelworkers (USW) Union, which represents more than 30,000 American oil workers in total.

The strike, which was first called by the USW on January 31 and began on February 1, has evolved into the largest refinery strike in over 35 years. The last strike of this size took place in 1980, when the work stoppage lasted three months. Today, the 15 plants currently striking include 12 refineries that represent about one fifth of the nation’s refining capacity.

Safety Concerns a Key Issue

One of the central focuses of this strike has been the argument that oil companies are perceived by their employees to be prioritizing profits over worker safety. Some of the employees’ biggest concerns … Read more...

National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 7-11, 2014)

This week is National Work Zone Awareness Week, a campaign designed to educate drivers and construction workers alike about the dangers associated with work zones. Local, state and federal transportation officials observe this week in April as this is the start of highway construction season across most of the country.

A Costly Mistake

The theme for 2014 is “Work Zone Speeding: A Costly Mistake.” Indeed, it is a costly mistake, and not just for the workers themselves. In 2012 there were 609 traffic-related fatalities in US work zones, which is 19 more compared to 590 deaths in 2011. However, most work zone fatalities are the drivers and their occupants (usually 85-90%) while the workers and other bystanders, such as pedestrians and cyclists, account for 10-15% of these deaths.

This year’s theme points to the fact that speeding is a major contributing factor of these work zone crashes, and was involved … Read more...