SWP campaign wins support for Marathon workers

By Jeff Powers
April 26, 2021
Militant/Hank Scheer

MARTINEZ, Calif. — Three campaign supporters joined Joel Britton, Socialist Workers Party candidate for California Assembly in the San Leandro area, above, campaigning at the afternoon shift change in front of the Martinez Refining Co. here April 8.

“We explained that the campaign was organizing to win support for refinery workers locked out by Marathon Petroleum in Minnesota and for ATI workers on strike at steel mills in five states,” Britton told the Militant. “The response of a number of operators and maintenance workers at this oil refinery was enthusiastic.”

Last year PBF Energy bought this refinery from Royal Dutch Shell. Workers told Britton that the new bosses immediately went after the employees’ retirement plans, forcing workers to stay more years on the job to get their pension. They also said cutbacks in preventive and general maintenance had increased the risks of explosions and fires and placed workers and the community in serious jeopardy.

“Several workers told us that they knew about the Marathon lockout, having received an email about it from United Steelworkers Local 5,” Britton said. “The safety questions they are fighting around are the same as here in the Martinez refinery.”

He reported that “14 workers got single copies of the Militant, and one got a Militant subscription and In Defense of the US Working Class by Mary-Alice Waters. A number of the workers who stopped gave us contributions. One drove to a nearby ATM and returned with $10 to buy the subscription and the book.”