Calif. governor signs refinery safety law

Legislation requires prevailing wage, apprentice training

CALIFORNIA GOV. Jerry Brown signed a new law Oct. 13 that will require refineries and other hazardous chemical plants to pay prevailing wages and hire workers who have graduated or are enrolled in a state-certified apprenticeship program. Introduced by state Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley), SB 54 was strongly supported by the Boilermakers union and the Building and Construction Trades Council of California (BCTCC).

“Trained, well-paid workers are a solid investment in California,” the governor wrote during the signing.

BCTCC President Robbie Hunter said, “These high-risk facilities should employ the most skilled and qualified workers possible.”

Tom Baca, IVP for the Western States and BCTCC Sec.-Treas., praised International Rep Jim Cooksey for leading the lobbying effort by members of Local 92 (Los Angeles) and Local 549 (Pittsburg, Calif.). “Our members did an outstanding job of making the case for this important legislation,” he said. “SB 54 promotes public safety in facilities that, by their nature, are dangerous. All Californians should rest easier knowing that union trades will be on the job at these hazardous facilities.”

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters described the new law as a big win for California labor that will “give union tradesmen first dibs on refinery jobs.”