Volume 22 | Issue 1 | January 2022
Maybe it is me and the position I hold within the Union Executive, but I have had a number of workers confide in me how much they like their work and the people they work with. And all they really want is simply the opportunity to work and not feel like the enemy and under attack constantly. Most workers are feeling under-valued and their input is meaningless because they aren’t a contractor or consultant. Day-to-day, workers of all stripes in all areas are sharing ideas that help their departments run better, more efficiently and reduce costs but they are never taken seriously.

If the goal really is to push through the doom and gloom and be the last refinery standing, then that needs to change. What better time to start then now.

We’ve polled workers from every corner of the refinery asking for ideas on how to improve job performance, working conditions, morale, and safety of the workplace. While the wish list/suggestions are grouped in to six categories many of them could slot in multiple areas. Most are not new and are long-standing concerns that have hampered worker productivity, efficiency and safety.

-Proper lunch room for Stores employees at the RBO & Refinery.
-Fix Instrument Shop overhead door.
-Proper Instrument Shop valve tables to improve ergonomics.
-Maintenance Building bathroom repairs.
-New control room for Section VI Boilerhouse & Pumps.
-Control room ergonomics (stand up consoles, Operator control over lighting levels, proper 24 hr chairs)
-Proper sit/stand desks for office employees.
-Paving north parking lot of the Maintenance Building.
-Return of the Canteen and onsite healthy meal options.
-Upgraded Op Shelter for Section IV.
-Weld Shop air ventilation system upgrades.
-Purchase an additional Parts Van for Stores.
-Purchase/rent Loaders and bobcats/skidsteer for snow removal.
-New milling machine for machinists.
-Four-point hoist in mechanic shop.
-Properly outfit the PSV Shop (lathe and table to handle larger PSVs).
-New 15-ton crane(s).
-A flat deck trailer to properly haul/transport pipe/spools/PSVs.
-Multiple tools, trucks and equipment neglected and in need of repair or replacement.

-Address understaffing; Stores, Instrumentation, Pipefitters, Tank Car Loaders, Admin/Payroll, Fire & Safety, Maintenance Relief Pool, Welders, Scaffolders, Dispatch, Process.
-Fill Lead Hand positions as more and more Supervisors no longer have a shop background.
-Assign more Capital Work to Tradespersons.
-Bring back the Steam Team.
-Finalize a Flex Work/Work from Home Arrangement.
-Abolish the Minimum Staffing Policy in Process.
-Increase job scope for Inspectors; create a Lubrication team.
-Better Communication.
-Discontinue the constant threats of layoffs.
-Grievances settled in a timely manner.
-Less contractors doing our work.
-Follow the CBA.
-Better EFAP program; allow employees to pick provider at employer’s expense.
-Stop seeing the Union/Employees as the enemy.
-Some positivity from Leadership; end the doom & gloom rhetoric.
-Supervisors held accountable for poor performance much like union employees.

Boost Productivity
-Better job planning & scheduling.
-Quicker/easier access to proper parts & materials.
-Stronger focus on preventative maintenance.
-Increased Turnaround work and responsibilities for all inscope employees.
-Form Permit and Isolation Committees with frontline worker members from all impacted areas.
-Assign Asbestos abatement to inscope Insulators.
-Provide Rope Access Training to inscope Insulators.

-Visual and audible overfill alarms for all loading racks (MST, 9th Ave, LPG, asphalt, slurry, sulphur).
-Resume and increase Emergency Fire Crew training.
-Access for all employees to receive First Aid training.
-Safe Work Permit issuance returned to Master Operator.

As you can see the workers have put together an extensive list of improvements they would like to see come to fruition in 2022. Some are quite simple; others would take more time and resources to materialize. But if we really want to move forward as one team, the theme is quite simple: our dedicated workers need to be valued and respected as the indispensable asset they are to the Co-op Refinery.

In Solidarity,
Richard Exner [Editor's note: Article Submitted January 14, 2022]
to the following 594 members:
Donny Stillborn- PDD Dispatch (January 1, 2022)
Kim Mohr- Accounts Payable (January 1, 2022)
Kyle Mohr- Welding (January 1, 2022)
Trent Robison- Process Section 3 (January 1, 2022)
Employee & Family Assistance Program
The Employee & Family Assistance Program (EFAP) is through Homewood Health and is available 24/7/365. Call 1-800-663-1142 or reach out to a trusted confident, friend or co-worker if you aren't feeling like yourself.
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