ST. PAUL PARK, Minn. — The 200 locked-out members of Teamsters Local 120 continue to win support and solidarity in their fight for safety against Marathon Petroleum refinery bosses here. Marathon is the largest oil refining company in the U.S.
Several area unions organized to join the picket line in a show of solidarity March 6, including Iron Workers Local 512, United Steelworkers District 11, Steamfitters Pipefitters Local 455, and Laborers Local 563. They carried banners of support, lining the road that truckers take into and out of the refinery.
After a one-day protest strike Jan. 21, Marathon has locked out the refinery workers ever since. The company is trying to keep production going, using management and contract workers.
The key issue is the bosses’ insistence on replacing some union workers with contract labor, a move that increases the danger of a disaster because of the use of hazardous chemicals — like hydrofluoric acid — in the refining process.
Strikers picketed outside Metro Transit’s headquarters and bus garage March 1 to protest their continued use of Marathon-produced gas. Metro Transit runs buses and trains throughout the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area.
“These workers are protesting Metro Transit’s decision to cross the picket line with their dollars by purchasing fuel from Marathon during an ongoing strike,” Ryan Timlin, president of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1005, said in a statement. “ATU Local 1005 stands in solidarity with the members of Teamsters 120.”
He said that this strikebreaking act was “part of a pattern of anti-union behavior in the agency,” noting Local 1005 members have been working without a contract for seven months.
“The Twin Cities has a progressive reputation, but the reality for working-class people is quite the opposite,” Timlin added, pointing to how elected officials there appointed the Metro Transit board. “Those Democrats who claim to stand with workers are responsible for putting these anti-union individuals in positions of power.”
Messages and donations to the strike fund can be sent to Teamsters Local 120, 9422 Ulysses St. NE, Blaine, MN 55434.