Union Bricklayers to Picket Valero Refinery

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Union bricklayers representing the northern 46 counties in California will be picketing Diamond Refractory Services at the Valero refinery on October 8, 2004 at 5:00 am, and possibly again on October 22, 2204, to express their concerns that Diamond Refractory Services does not meet area wage and benefit standards. The Valero refinery in Benicia is located in an area between East 2nd street and Bayshore road near the Interstate 780 and 680 interchange.

Diamond Refractory Services is a Texas based refractory contractor operating under the license of Altair Strickland. Diamond Refractory does not possess a valid C-29 license as required by the State of California to perform this work. Diamond is, instead, working as a subcontractor under and "A" engineering license held by Altair Strickland. Altair Strickland is also based in Texas. There are highly qualified, properly licensed, local based contractors capable of performing this work. Additionally, hundreds (800 estimated) of workers from other states have recently taken classes from the Bay Area Training Corporation (BATC), which is a requirement to work in the refineries in the San Francisco Bay Area. It seems Diamond Refractory Services and Altair Strickland have visions of obtaining more work in this area utilizing out of state contractors and displacing the citizens and businesses that support our communities. Money paid to out of state contractors will most undoubtedly be sent out of state. It is estimated the amount of work to be performed will require approximately 20,000 hours of labor or $1.2 million in compensation to Diamond Refractory workers. This disregard for the community seems to contradict the Valero “Good Neighbor Agreement” and creates an environment that will exploit the standards of wages and benefits of the people that live in the community.

Union bricklayers will also conduct another job action on October 22, 2004 if the issue of area standards cannot be resolved.

Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers represent represents Bricklayers/Stonemasons, Tile Layers and Finishers, Pointer Cleaner Caulkers, Marble Setters and Finishers, Terrazzo Mechanics and Finishers, and Refractory Bricklayers who work various aspects of the industry in the Northern 46 counties of California. Refractory Bricklayers line the boilers, benzene tanks, acid tanks, and catalytic crackers. This is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and poses the greatest health risk to Refractory Bricklayers. We work in one of the most carcinogenic environments in the world. We were recently tested for silicosis and asbestos, and many of our members have tested positive for early stages. We are proud of the work we do and have no complaints. We are hard working and diligent in our craft.

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James C Bresnahan
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