Labor, Oil Leaders Fighting to Save American Jobs

Unions, Big Oil Fighting to Save American JobsFour months after announcing the formation of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee, the group’s leaders announced today they have written to senior members of Congress to encourage them to support tax policies that will protect and encourage the development of quality U.S. jobs, while at the same time fortifying our nation’s energy and economic security.

In letters sent to Sens. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman and ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee and Reps. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) and Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman and ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee said avoiding tax increases on the oil and natural gas industry is “not only good tax policy – it is good energy policy.”

“As you begin consideration of legislation to address expiring tax provisions and other revenue issues, we urge you to avoid policies that could endanger jobs in the domestic oil and natural gas industry, an industry that is critical to both our energy and economic security,” Mark H. Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department and American Petroleum Institute President Jack Gerard said in the letters they signed on behalf of the committee.

The oil and natural gas industry supports more than 9 million American jobs, including thousands of building and construction jobs that support refinery modifications and expansions, pipeline construction and fabrication of equipment used to produce domestic oil and natural gas.

The committee includes representatives of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, which represents 13 national and international unions; the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, as well as CEOs representing the oil and natural gas companies and API.  To see the complete list of committee’s member organizations, read this post.

API, 15 Labor Unions Create Historic Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee

Williams Driller Robert Arnold 4-15-09The American Petroleum Institute and 15 labor unions announced today the historic creation of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee, which will work to promote job retention and growth.

In a post yesterday, I reported that a major labor-management announcement would be made during an API-hosted call-in news conference this morning.  That conference call is taking place as we speak.  Below, however, is the news release on the subject just released by API:

The American Petroleum Institute and 15 labor unions announced today the historic creation of the Oil and Natural Gas Industry Labor-Management Committee, which will work to promote job retention and growth.

API President Jack N. Gerard, Mark H. Ayers, president of the AFL-CIO Building and Construction Trades Department, and United Brotherhood of Carpenters General President Douglas J. McCarron, together with the presidents of 13 other unions and three industry CEOs, signed the agreement creating the committee. In a joint announcement, Gerard and Ayers said they planned to work together through the committee to preserve and create jobs by promoting innovative and affordable access to energy that is vital to the American economy.

J. Larry Nichols, API chairman and chairman and chief executive officer of Devon Energy Corp., Clarence P. Cazalot Jr., the president and chief executive officer of Marathon Oil Corp., and Michael T. Dolan, senior vice president of Exxon Mobil Corp., also participated in the signing ceremony.

“This represents an historic opportunity to work together to promote job growth and advance the economic future of America,” Gerard said. “This committee will be at the forefront of the economic development of the oil and natural gas industry.”

“A pillar of the domestic workforce is skilled industrial labor,” Ayers said. “The committee will support policies that protect and promote job security and growth in the oil and natural gas industry.

“Today’s signing is the first time that the oil and natural gas industry and its labor unions have agreed to work together formally through a labor-management committee. The committee has eight trustees, four each from the oil and gas industry and the labor unions, and they will determine the group’s agenda and priorities. The industry employs more than 1.8 million and supports another 4 million American workers.

Among the committee’s activities will be an effort to identify areas of skills training needed in the construction and maintenance side of the industry. There also will be a communications effort to educate the public and other stakeholders about the effects of legislation that would restrict exploration or hinder processing, refining and marketing of U.S. oil and natural gas products.

Additionally, the committee plans to forge coalitions with like-minded organizations to advance public policy goals and promote technology that will drive job growth and address long-term challenges, such as increasing access, promoting pro-job growth tax policies, promoting energy security, and rationally addressing climate change.

Central to all the efforts is the creation of jobs across a broad spectrum of the oil and natural gas industry, including construction and permanent jobs in the upstream and downstream sectors, such as exploration and production, transportation, pipelines and refineries.

“By working together, we can protect and promote job growth and continue to be a constructive economic force for the nation,” Nichols said. “Our partnership signals an unshakable confidence in our nation and its ability to recover from the current recession. We want the country to have the energy it needs to create jobs for future generations of working Americans.”

The committee includes representatives of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the AFL-CIO, which represents 13 national and international unions; the International Union of Operating Engineers, and the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, as well as CEOs representing the oil and natural gas companies and the American Petroleum Institute.

The list of participating unions, according to the news release, includes the following: International Union of Operating Engineers, United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers and the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers.

Also involved are the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Others involved include: International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, International Union of Elevator Constructors, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades and Laborers’ International Union of North America.

Still others include: Operative Plasterers’ and Cement Masons’ International Association of the United States and Canada, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association, United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada and United Union of Roofers, Waterproofers and Allied Workers.

Developing