If our opa-ed oil job is coming to an end, we need safety net and good replacement work

January 2015 Pump Jacks working on the Kern River oil field in Bakersfield. (Associated Press)

Days after the recent oil spill on Huntington Beach, Governor Gavin Newsom arrived in Orange County. In response to a renewed call for a halt to offshore drilling after pouring about 25,000 gallons of crude oil into the Pacific Ocean, the governor said, “Preventing new drills is not complicated. Commented.

I am also a member of the manpower that Newsom says. For more than 22 years, I have been a member of the United States Stillers Workers 675 at the Los Angeles Oil Refinery. USW represents thousands of workers in Los Angeles, Korn, and Contra Costa County who run refineries, oil wells, pipelines, and terminals. Over the past 100 years or so, our staff has been tirelessly involved in earthquakes, riots, world wars, fires, and recent epidemics. In the wake of the Coronavirus crisis, we provide fuel for air travel, hospital backup generators and syringes.

Even before the renewed call to stop the excavation, we felt that our work was in jeopardy. When we look at football, we see hybrids and hybrids and now electric cars like the Ford F-150 Lightning. Every new car sold in California after 2035 must be an electric vehicle.

The text is on the wall. California Following our goal of cutting 40% emissions by 2030, some 37,000 fossil fuels will need to be re-employed due to the closure of the oil and gas industry, and an additional 20,000 workers or more will retire voluntarily over the next nine years.

My father always said, “Failure to plan means planning failure.” Although power transfer is inevitable, it is not the right version. Workers know what will happen when the whole industry is gone. When fear begins to strike, it is true that lost work is unplanned.

We are also concerned for our communities. The loss of tax revenue will erode the county and city budgets, hampering our schools, libraries and other services. Losing our well-paid jobs will have a devastating effect, especially on the Kern and Contra Costa counties.

Many talk about “fair transition,” but we have never seen one. Until we look at the detailed, fully funded government safety net and job creation programs, not every worker or community member believes that fair transition is possible.

To provide these safety nets, California must establish a fair transition fund for fossil fuels that includes wage replacement, income and pension insurance, health care benefits, relocation and peer counseling for professional and personal support. It must provide safe and healthy education and training opportunities for both existing and future careers. California needs to keep communities, schools, and libraries open to the financial challenges they face when their tax base is reduced.

Long-term, manpower transition means creating stable jobs with good pay and benefits. Now, we get a good income from low wages, which means we can support our families. Most of us can own homes with fossil fuels, and some of us get six digits. When we start a new business, we want to be able to continue to support our loved ones.

By investing in California’s climate goals, we can create good new jobs for fossil workers and others. USW Local 675 is one of 20 unions that supported the California Climate Action Plan, including three fossil fuels, a study published in June and led by economist Robert Poline.

With funding from the California budget, federal funds, bonds, and new sources of revenue, the plan lists $ 70 billion in public investment each year through safety net programs as well as renewable energy and energy saving projects, infrastructure improvements, and ecological agriculture. The goal is to reduce emissions in California by 2030 and create 1 million new jobs. This will create opportunities for electricians, carpenters, bus drivers, teachers, engineers, planners and maintenance workers – including workers affected by the epidemic.

The best way to make sure these are good jobs and to minimize differences is to make sure they are cooperative. The data show that union representation means higher wages, better benefits and working conditions, and a better life for workers and the communities they support.

With a fully funded fair transition plan – meeting the needs of the safety net for workers and communities and giving a bold vision to rebuild our economy – we can begin to rehabilitate California workers, communities and the planet. in the future.

Norman Rogers is the second vice president of United Steelworkers Local 675.

This story first appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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