The Time Has Come to Boycott SHELL After This Behavior

by admin on August 17, 2019

Bright vests on union workers indicate ‘essential’ audience for speech

Trump’s large union crowd at SHELL was given the option of not showing up — and not getting paid

From an Article by Anya Litvak, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, August 16, 2019

The choice for thousands of union workers at Royal Dutch Shell’s petrochemical plant in Beaver County was clear Tuesday: Either stand in a giant hall waiting for President Donald Trump to speak or take the day off with no pay.

“Your attendance is not mandatory,” said the rules that one contractor relayed to employees, summarizing points from a memo that Shell sent to union leaders a day ahead of the visit to the $6 billion construction site. But only those who showed up at 7 a.m., scanned their ID cards, and prepared to stand for hours — through lunch but without lunch — would be paid.

“NO SCAN, NO PAY,” a supervisor for that contractor wrote.

That company and scores of other contractors on site and their labor employees all have their own contracts with Shell. Several said the contracts stipulate that to get paid, workers must be onsite.

Those who decided not to come to the site for the event would have an excused but non-paid absence, the company said, and would not qualify for overtime pay on Friday.

Shell spokesman Ray Fisher explained that the workers onsite have a 56-hour workweek, with 16 hours of overtime built in. That means those workers who attended Mr. Trump’s speech and showed up for work Friday, meeting the overtime threshold, were being paid at a rate of time and a half, while those who didn’t go to hear the president were being paid the regular rate, despite the fact that both groups did not do work on the site Tuesday.

“This is just what Shell wanted to do and we went along with it,” said Ken Broadbent, business manager for Steamfitters local 449. The local has 2,400 workers on the site and Mr. Broadbent said he would not “bad rap about it one way or another.”

“We’re glad to have the jobs. We’re glad to have the project built,” he said. “The president is the president whether we like him or dislike him. We respect him for the title.”

Mr. Broadbent said anyone who did not want to show up to work that day was free to do so. “This is America,” he said.

One union leader reached Friday who asked not to be named because he did not want to make trouble for his workers said one day of work might amount to about $700 in pay, benefits and a per diem payment that out-of-town workers receive.

Mr. Fisher said Friday that “this was treated as a paid training day with a guest speaker who happened to be the president.” He said workers engaged in “safety training and other activities” in the morning.

“It’s not uncommon for us to shut down the site for quarterly visits from VIPs — popular sports figures like Rocky Bleier and Franco Harris have visited the site to engage with workers and to share inspirational messages. Shell/Penske NASCAR driver Joey Logano was another guest at the site,” Mr. Fisher said.

Several union leaders said they were not consulted about the arrangement before it was sent out.

The contractor’s talking points, preparing his workers for the event read: “No yelling, shouting, protesting or anything viewed as resistance will be tolerated at the event. An underlying theme of the event is to promote good will from the unions. Your building trades leaders and jobs stewards have agreed to this.”

Mr. Trump received a generally warm and at times cheerful welcome at Shell, where he praised natural gas extraction in Appalachia and talked about his political grievances and name-called some opponents. Shell will process natural gas into plastic pellets when the plant is operational.

The president also called out union leadership, which Shell had requested to be in attendance. “I’m going to speak to some of your union leaders to say, ‘I hope you’re going to support Trump.’ OK?” he said. “And if they don’t, vote them the hell out of office because they’re not doing their job.”

More than a dozen unions work at the Shell site, the largest construction project in the state of Pennsylvania.


See also: Fact-checking President Donald Trump’s remarks on manufacturing jobs and Pennsylvania’s Shell plant – The Morning Call, Laura Olson, August 13, 2019

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

jane birdsong August 18, 2019 at 8:06 am

Though I have been a Shell gasoline buyer for over 30 years, I will boycott the company and let them know why. This type of behavior in a so-called union based company is outrageous. Trump is telling them to obey him and vote for him or get new union leaders who will.

Please think for yourselves!

Jane Birdsong


Mary Wildfire August 20, 2019 at 9:29 pm

The time has come to boycott Shell because they made workers attend a one-day rally?

Personally I think the time had come when they got the Nigerian government to hang nine Ogoni activists trying to protect their homeland from devastation by an oil industry even more unmoored in responsibility than they are here. I haven’t stopped at a Shell station since.

However, this is problematic. Buy gas from Exxon, after the Valdez? From BP after the Gulf spill and coverup?

And apparently they buy and sell each other’s gas anyway.

So I buy from the little independents, but…

Mary Wildfire, Roane County, WV


York Dispatch August 22, 2019 at 11:37 pm

EDITORIAL: All in a day’s work

From the York (Penna.) Dispatch, August 22, 2019

President Donald Trump speaks at the Pennsylvania Shell ethylene cracker plant on Tuesday, Aug. 13, 2019 in Monaca, Pa.
Donald Trump has a knack. He can turn any event into a campaign rally.

That’s what he did on Aug. 13 at the Royal Dutch Shell cracker plant being built in Beaver County, in western Pennsylvania.

Some 5,000 union workers were told their work day on that day would be a training day with a guest speaker, the president.

It’s not surprising that Trump would want to speak at the plant. After all, it gave him a chance to do some of his favorite activities: encouraging the use of fossil fuels and taking credit for things he really had nothing to do with.

The area’s natural gas resources are key to Shell’s soon-to-be completed Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex. When it’s up and running, it will take the natural gas from the Marcellus Shale and turn the ethane gas into a precursor for plastics by breaking down molecules with high heat.

That’s right, fracking and cracking.

This is the kind of place Trump loves. Soon, environmental groups say, the Shell plant will be the biggest source of air pollution in western Pennsylvania. And it will be helping to create more plastics at a time when people are starting to notice the devastating effects plastics are having on the land, oceans and wildlife.

Trump told reporters as he was leaving the White House for the Shell appearance that the plastic pollution found in every part of the oceans has nothing to do with the United States. “It’s plastics that’s floating over in the ocean and the various oceans from other places,” he said.

The Shell speech was billed as an official White House event, with Trump speaking to the workers about the plant. The president soon turned it into a campaign-style rally, touting his own achievements and belittling his potential Democratic rivals in next year’s presidential election.

Along the way, he took credit for the creation of the plant the workers are building (it’s been planned since 2012) and said he was responsible for creating 600,000 manufacturing jobs (the United States has added 500,000 jobs in manufacturing since he took office).
And through it all, the sea of workers in a variety of fluorescent vests stood and watched and listened and cheered like it was their job.

Which, for that day, it was.

Workers were given the option of not going to the training day event. Whenever there is a training day with a guest speaker, as happens a few times a year, the workers can opt to stay away.

Of course, then they don’t get paid.

These workers in particular, members of a dozen unions, have a contracted 56-hour work week, with 16 hours of overtime built in, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Many are from out of the area and receive per diems for the costs of being away from their homes.

Anyone who decided to stay away from the training day and Trump rally would have lost that day’s pay and would not have been eligible to work overtime on that Friday, the Post-Gazette found.

One union leader said that the pay, benefits and per diem could add up to as much as $700 for one day.

So instead of their usual day of work at the largest construction site in the state, one which taxpayers are footing part of the bill for through massive tax breaks and a $10 million site development grant, the union workers went through some training in the morning and then stood around during Trump’s speech in the afternoon, being well-paid props for a White House event that turned into a campaign rally.

And it all played into another knack our president has: getting so many things so wrong, all at the same time. Taking credit for a plant that he had nothing to do with, a plant that will turn natural gas captured through the environmentally devastating fracking into plastics that are now being found even in the depths of the oceans and in the smallest of organisms, and doing it in front of a crowd of thousands, thousands of people who were being paid to be there.

And for our president, it’s just all in a day’s work.


Cancel reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: