On February 1, 2015, four,000 employees belonging to the United Steelworkers Union (USW), walked off their jobs at nine oil refinery and chemical plants throughout the U.S. By Feb. 10 one other 1,400 employees went on strike at two refineries in Indiana and Ohio. The strike now results 11 oil refinery and chemical plants used by BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, and Lyondell Basell, together with those in California, Kentucky, Texas, and Washington. The USW represents 30,000 employees that run greater than 200 refineries, terminals, and pipelines. The number of staff on strike and on the picket line is over 5,000to date.
Which aspect are you on? Workers on the picket line on the BP refinery in Indiana. Picture/The Instances of Northwest Indiana.
The workers are putting because of unsafe and harmful working conditions. Their grievances include a cease to “daily occurrences of fires, leaks, emissions, and explosions, brutal and harmful scheduling practices,as well as layoffs, speed-ups, and the hiring of inexperienced non-union labor.
The strike kicked-off when talks collapsed with Shell Oil, which is leading the business-huge negotiations. BP and the opposite oil companies at the moment are hiring scab labor to keep their operations going.
The work stoppage is the largest nationwide strike within the U.S. since 1980. Addressing the general public and fellow workers both unionized and non-unionized, the strikers made it clear that 38 workers were killed on the job while extracting, producing, or supporting oil and gas in 2012,a number “more than doublethe fatalities suffered in 2009. The workers charge BP and the other oil giants with chopping back on safety protocols and intensifying layoffs and velocity-ups to keep income high. Here it ought to be remembered that 11 staff have been killed when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.
However what does any of this have to do with the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art (LACMA)?
I’ve been writing in opposition to oil giant BP funding LACMA since the oily relationship was publicly announced in June of 2007. I wrote the next in a June 2010 weblog put up. It is a fair summation of my stance regarding LACMA director and CEO Michael Govan enthusiastically accepting money from BP; which he mentioned was dedicated “to sustainable power./p>
“In 2007 Mr. Govan accepted $25 million from the oil firm and in return the museum constructed the so-known as ‘BP Grand Entranceon the LACMA campus. Each time an artist or arts group presents works beneath the BP Grand Entrance, it lends authority, respectability, and quiet approval to the machinations of one of many world’s largest polluters; even when that presentation is of a ‘challengingnature – it nonetheless allows BP to current itself as a generous and ’socially responsiblesupporter of the arts. As one must cross by means of the BP Grand Entrance with a purpose to enter the LACMA museum advanced, BP has succeeded in inserting its imprimatur upon every LACMA exhibit, not to mention its entire assortment./p>
I always seen LACMA’s relationship with BP as an moral dilemma for the arts group, from BP shaping an arts institution to LACMA being a partner within the oil giant’s “greenwashingpropaganda. Nevertheless, the nationwide workersstrike towards BP provides a brand new wrinkle to the entanglement – revealing as soon as extra the troublesome interface between artwork and capitalism.
Workers picket BP refinery in Indiana, Feb. 2, 2015. Photo/USW.
If hundreds of staff are on strike towards BP because of deplorable working conditions that are literally taking workerslives, and BP is a significant contributor to LACMAwhat then does that make the museum? Is it really an impartial establishment? Does it really must be said which facet LACMA is on – with the workers, their households and buddies – or with BP? Can Michael Govan and LACMA really tell the public that the museum has nothing to do with politics or the strike, when LACMA takes BP’s cash and museum visitors must stroll by the “BP Grand Entranceto enter the museum?
And what occurs if the workersnationwide strike towards BP and the opposite large oil firms grows bigger, drawing within the 30,000 employees of the United Steelworkers Union and affecting the 200 U.S. websites they work at? The union represents the workers that run almost two-thirds of the oil refining plants in the U.S.
The biggest nationwide strike in the U.S. since 1980. Photograph/USW.
Within the glorious labor history of the United States, a movement that gave us the eight-hour day, increased wages, better working situations, paid vacations, and other benefitswhen employees called a strike, different employees and the general inhabitants supported it.
That is how the working class in America superior, not through the largess and goodwill of a brilliant-wealthy minority, however by workers making demands on them and uniting within the trigger to create a better life for the majority.
The Los Angeles County Museum of Art makes use of union labor, in addition to non-union labor, along with what’s euphemistically referred to as “volunteerlabor. Some 350 persons are employed at LACMA, however there are additionally safety, janitorial, upkeep technicians, and other contracted laborers that work at LACMA. In June of 2012, LACMA staff had been fired as the museum looked for tactics to “best deploy sources,all of the while spending $10 million dollars on the “Levitated Massproject and paying director Govan an annual salary of $915,000 – twice the amount of a sitting U.S. president! What if employees at LACMA determined to stroll off their jobs in solidarity with the striking employees who wage a life and death struggle with BP?
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