ST. PAUL PARK, Minn. — Two hundred members of Teamsters Local 120 went on strike against the Marathon Petroleum refinery here Jan. 21 over subcontracting their jobs and unsafe working conditions.
Marathon bosses own the majority of oil refineries in the U.S.
“The company only offered us an economic package. We refused and told them the issues were subcontracting and safety, not money,” Scott Kroona, business agent for the Teamsters, told the Militant two days later. “We had no choice but to strike after we went through 22 meetings trying to get them to negotiate a contract we could agree to.”
He explained that the St. Paul Park refinery “utilizes hydrofluoric acid, the same chemical which necessitated the evacuation of Superior, Wisconsin, after the explosion at the Husky refinery there in 2018. Hydrofluoric acid is deadly, plain and simple.”
Several dozen union members and their supporters were picketing at six entrances to the refinery. Workers told the Militant that since Jan. 1 when the contract expired the company had assigned planned replacement workers to shadow them and watch them work. Many had been brought in from Marathon refineries elsewhere.
Father and son Max and Jason Lundusky, who live close to the refinery, came to show solidarity. “We’re here to support these workers for better conditions and safety for them and for the neighborhood,” Max said.
Also joining the striking pickets were members of the St. Paul Federation of Teachers; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; Minnesota Nurses Association; Socialist Workers Party; and Democratic Socialists of America.