For Immediate Release

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Trey Pollard (202) 495-3058 or

Sierra Club Statement on Steelworkers' Strikes

WASHINGTON - Over the weekend, oil refinery workers represented by the United Steelworkers went on strike in nine different locations.

In response, Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune released the following statement:

"Oil refinery workers do hard, dangerous work as bulwarks protecting our communities from devastating explosions, spills, and releases. They deserve to be treated with respect, and to work in healthy and safe conditions.  Instead, oil companies have created conditions that endanger not only the safety and health of their own employees, but that of nearby communities.

“As Steelworkers International Vice-President Gary Beevers said, this stoppage is in part to protect workers and communities from the ‘dangerous conditions the industry continues to ignore.’ Its a pattern we’ve seen again and again - oil executives prioritizing their own profits over the well-being of everyone else.

The Sierra Club and the United Steelworkers co-founded the BlueGreen alliance and have jointly spoken out to make it clear that the health and safety of workers and communities and the protection of the environment are inextricably linked. Whether it’s been the Deepwater Horizon disaster, an explosion at the BP refinery in Texas, or another at the Tesoro refinery in Washington, the tragic examples of oil companies and oil executives not following the laws meant to protect our air, our water, and their workers have shown just how real that connection is. Each of these tragedies is an example of how disaster could have been presented if these oil companies abided by legal safeguards. If they had learned their lesson then, they likely wouldn’t be facing this strike today.”


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The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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