Home News Local news 65 WORKERS 'FURLOUGHED' AT HOVENSA

65 WORKERS 'FURLOUGHED' AT HOVENSA

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July 27, 2001 – Sixty-five contract workers at the Hovensa refinery were without jobs as of Friday after maintenance work there was deferred in order to cut costs.
Rene L. Sagebien, Hovensa president and chief operating officer, said in a release late Friday that the workers will be "furloughed," not laid off, which will allow them to continue their medical insurance coverage until the end of the year.
A decline in gasoline prices on the mainland was the reason given for the cutback. Sagebien said if gas prices go up again, maintenance work could resume in January.
However, he said, "In light of the uncertainty of what economic conditions in the refining industry will be at that time," the workers will be paid severance by their employers.
All 65 work for subcontractors that provide maintenance services to Hovensa.
Sagebien said the budget tightening will not affect work on the coker project, which he said was a capital expenditure item covered under a fixed contract between Hovensa and Bechtel International Inc.
In June, Alex Moorhead, Hovensa vice president for human resources, said that a reorganization of the maintenance department would likely result in 185 layoffs. Friday's release did not indicate whether the 65 layoffs now are a part of those anticipated, and neither Moorhead or Sagebien could be reached Friday night for clarification.
The layoffs follow on the heels of a public meeting held by the Labor Department Thursday night where several workers spoke out about concerns regarding severance pay, retirement and general conditions at the refinery. See "Refinery workers voice concerns" for details of Thursday's meeting.

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