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Latest News - February 2013

February 21, 2013
Labor and environmental groups join forces on refinery issues
Source: Richmond Confidential
By: Sara Bernard

The fire at Richmond’s Chevron oil refinery on August 6, 2012 wasn’t the only reason the United Steelworkers union and several environmental organizations—disparate groups that rarely work in tandem—decided to join forces in an industry-wide conversation about health and safety, but it was certainly an accelerating factor.

“Absolutely, that spurred us,” said Charlotte Brody, national associate director of the BlueGreen Alliance, a coalition of labor unions and environmental groups that advocate for a green economy and safer workplaces. “It was a good idea waiting for an opportunity to happen.”

While it’s been in the works for over a year, Richmond’s new labor-community collaborative, soon to be named the Collaborative on Refinery Safety and Community Health, officially launched on January 30. It includes the steelworkers’ union, the BlueGreen Alliance, and the Labor Occupational Health Program at UC Berkeley, as well as one national and two Bay Area-based environmental groups: the National Resources Defense Council, Communities for a Better Environment and the Asian Pacific Environmental Network.

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