MUA: Chevron operations under scrutiny
International speakers highlighted concerns about the safety of Chevron operations at a public meeting attended by over 300 people in Perth, Western Australia last week.
The forum, hosted by the Maritime Union of Australia (WA Branch) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation, featured Mike Smith, a union official from the United Steelworkers’ Union Local 5 in Richmond California who travelled to Perth to address the meeting in person. The Chevron facility in Richmond California is the location of a major explosion that saw 15,000 people sent to hospital two years ago.
The meeting also featured a video link to Gayle McLaughlin, Mayor of Richmond California who outlined why the people of Richmond do not trust Chevron and see them as putting profit ahead of worker and community safety. Gayle talked about Chevron’s propaganda campaign including setting up their own newspaper and their involvement in local politics. Gayle estimated that Chevron would spend $2 million to get Chevron friendly candidates elected at the upcoming Richmond council elections.
MUAWA Secretary Christy Cain said that West Australians need to understand the lessons from the Richmond plant, especially as Chevron seeks to bring its Gorgon and Wheatstone LNG plants online over the next few years.
“With Gorgon being built on a A-Class nature reserve, and Wheatstone being built close to onshore communities, it is vitally important that all Western Australians have an understanding of Chevron’s safety record,” Cain said.
At the conclusion of the meeting the MUA and International Transport workers Federation committed to stand in solidarity with United Steelworkers Local 5 and the community of Richmond California.
Press Release, July 28, 2014