Tesoro Hawaii says a "handful" of employees were given layoff notices Monday as the company transitions its Kapolei refinery into an import, storage and distribution terminal.
Tesoro says it is still talking to parties interested in buying the Hawaii operations as a terminal or an integrated business, which includes a refinery, logistics, and retail.
The workers who received layoff notices got notice at least two weeks in advance.
Tesoro says the layoffs will be completed in phases. The company has not yet released the number of total layoffs, but says it will be fewer than 200.
Sen. Brian Schatz says "My office has been in constant communication with the Tesoro companies and is working with the relevant state agencies to ensure that unemployment assistance, job placement and other help be provided to the workers that may be laid off. In addition, we are coordinating our efforts with the refinery task force to ensure that there is no disruption in fuel supply in the state of Hawaii, and we are confident for the purposes of Hawaii’s economy and the needs of the Department of Defense that fuel will continue to be available. Our main concern is with the workers and their families, and we will do whatever we can to help them to land on their feet."
Rep. Colleen Hanabusa released this statement on the Tesoro layoffs: "As Tesoro continues talks with potential buyers, my office remains committed to looking for ways to help mitigate the impact of its closure and assist those workers who may lose their jobs. Tesoro said it will honor its current supply contracts to the military, HECO, and private individuals, and I will do all that I can to ensure that the transition to an alternate fuel supply goes as smoothly as possible."