By Howard Dicus
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of workers at the Tesoro refinery in Kapolei have new hope of keeping their jobs thanks to a contract agreement between the company the United Steelworkers union.
The union has been taking strike authorization votes at its other refineries, but settled in Hawaii because the Kapolei refinery is up for sale. Labor and management agreed that having a labor agreement in place would make the refinery more attractive to buyers and increase the chance that the refinery will remain open.
Hawaii has two refineries - another and smaller one, also in Kapolei, is operated by Chevron - and wholesalers also sometimes bring into gasoline by tanker that has been refined elsewhere. The two Oahu refineries also produce significant amounts of jet fuel, which they sell to commercial airlines and Hawaii-based military operations.
Tesoro, an oil company that owns no oil wells, has six refineries. Two, in Martinez, California, and Anacortes, Washington, have taken strike votes, authorizing but not yet calling strikes. Workers on the mainland are at odds on safety issues and concerns about retirement plans.