The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Trey Pollard (202) 495-3058 or

Sierra Club Statement on Steelworkers' Strikes


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."

The Sierra Club is the most enduring and influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States. We amplify the power of our 3.8 million members and supporters to defend everyone's right to a healthy world.

(415) 977-5500