In Phoenix, Western States Conference International Vice President Doug Gamble and Local 16 Business Manager Mel Breshears provided an update on the enactment of 2013 California state legislation (SB 54), which requires workers at all California refineries to have appropriate training.
California citizens demanded increased safety and training requirements as a result of several explosions at California refineries, and the California Legislature responded with legislation to mandate California oil refinery workers demonstrate they have the training and skills to ensure the safety of these refineries and to protect the surrounding communities.
Since non-union oil refinery workers do not have the same quality of training as our union Brothers and Sisters and other building trades workers, California Insulators have been able to secure additional work.
As a result of the success in California, Insulators and building trades leaders in other states are working to get similar workforce training and community safety requirements enacted.
In Washington, Governor Inslee signed legislation (ESHB 1817) on May 9. This new Washington law is based on California SB 54 and will require similar training requirements at Washington state refineries. Congratulations to Local 7 Business Manager and Washington State Building Trades President Todd Mitchell and to the Washington Building Trades leaders on the passage of this important legislation.
In Illinois, progress was also made toward the enactment of refinery workforce training requirements. The Illinois State Senate approved state legislation (SB 1407), but the Illinois State House did not consider the bill before the end of the legislative session.
Local 17 Business Manager Bill Mangin and Local 17 Officers dedicated considerable time and effort with this initiative. Their excellent work has established a strong foundation for the Illinois legislation to be enacted in the next legislative session.
As often stated, elected officials have the ability to help us secure work, and I am very pleased with the great advocacy and success from these state initiatives.