Workers protest BP's use of non-union labor at Toledo refinery

(Reuters) - Three dozen refinery workers represented by Toledo, Ohio’s local building trades union protested in front of their workplace in the city early Monday over BP’s hiring of non-union contractors from Texas to perform their work.

BP is also considering using a mix of union and non-union labor for a multi-unit turnaround at the 155,000 barrel per day refinery in 2022, according to two sources familiar with the matter. The company plans to cut 15% of its workforce worldwide as part of Chief Executive Bernard Looney’s proposed shift to greater production of renewables away from oil and gas.

For the past two weeks non-union contractors have been working on an alkylation unit at the refinery, jointly owned by BP BP.L and Husky Energy, according to a source familiar with the matter. The work is expected to last two more weeks, the source said.

“BP is acting recklessly by bringing in out of state workers from Texas while we have high unemployment in the area,” said United Association Local 50 Business Manager Scott Lopez.

BP has traditionally employed local building trades laborers to perform refinery work in the region, Lopez said.

“The refinery is planning to invite qualified non-union contractors with proven safety and performance records to participate in sourcing activities for select refinery work,” according to BP spokeswoman Sarah Howell.

“We have a long history of providing thousands of good paying jobs to local workers and can only continue to do this if we have a competitive business,” Howell added.

Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by Richard Chang