ROBBIE HUNTER, PRESIDENT of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, addressed delegates Wednesday afternoon to outline the gains made in California through cooperation among Boilermakers and other construction trades to secure passage of Senate Bill 54. Before passage of the bill, refineries on the West Coast were flooded with unskilled, out-of-state workers bussed into California, Hunter said, taking jobs from skilled workers, creating an unsafe work product and “enslaving workers in the industrial sector.”
To pass the bill, the consortium of unions fought against refinery owners, Steelworkers and others. “It was a war. Absolute totally war,” said Hunter. “The steelworkers flooded the capitol.”
The eventual passage of the bill has improved safety at refineries for workers and the communities where the facilities were located. It also increased opportunities for trade workers and contractors, and increased wages.
“I want to thank the Boilermakers, because they were the column that held things up,” said Hunter.