Saturday, September 24, 2005

Steelworkers Criticize OSHA BP Settlement

The United Steelworkers who represent the workers at BP's Texas City refinery that was fined $21 million yesterday, criticized OSHA for reaching a settlment with the company before the citation was issued:

"We will never know what OSHA traded away to get the settlement," said Mr. Gerard. "The families of the victims, workers in the plant, and the surrounding community deserve to know all the problems OSHA uncovered. And the workers who face those hazards every day on the job should have had a voice in the settlement talks."

"The penalty is the largest in OSHA’s history," said Gary Beevers, Director of the USW’s Region 6. “We are grateful for that. But by itself, the penalty will not deter future misconduct. Penalties are supposed to hurt, and this one represents less than half a day of BP’s corporate income. It doesn’t even cover what BP saved by not making the safety improvements that would have prevented the March 23 explosion.”

Had the citation been issued before settlement discussions, not only would all of the original penalties be known, but the union would have been able to participate in settlement discussions.