Tesoro Hawaii employees avoid layoffs
Relief over refinery sale
Par Petroleum Corporation, a Houston based company, agreed to buy Tesoro Hawaii for $75 million plus the value of Tesoro's other assets.
The deal is estimated to be between $300-$350 million and is expected to close in the coming months.
For the past year, there was a dark cloud over the employees at Tesoro Hawaii.
First came the uncertainty after the state's largest refinery was put up for sale.
When no buyers came forward, many were left to wonder if they would keep on working after impending layoffs were announced.
Tesoro's contract workers were also affected as the refinery wrapped up operations and started to shutdown this spring.
"There were slow periods and less jobs so we had to find more work at somewhere else. It was just unfortunate, but now it seems like there is going to be more work," said Tesoro contractor Brandon Egdamin.
After the news of the sale, workers said that dark cloud over the refinery's future has disappeared.
"Everybody is all happy right now. We all thought we'd lose our jobs, but nothing is going to go that way. So we're all happy now," said Tesoro contractor Mike Shott.
Employees and contractors will now get back to work getting the refinery operating again.
At its peak, the Tesoro Hawaii refinery could pump out nearly 100,000 barrels of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel each day.
It will take a while to get back to that level. Crude oil has to be ordered and processed and the refinery has to brought back up to speed. Something workers said may not happen until September.
Those employees just missed the first round of layoffs, which were supposed to happen this week. Because of that, some employees have already left -- nearly two dozen, according to sources.
There may be efforts to get those workers to return.
Now, many of the union employees at Tesoro Hawaii will get something they haven't had in quite a while: job security.
"Those who are covered by the UPW contract. Because if there is a sale the new owner has to honor the contract and the workers in those jobs get to keep those jobs," said Lynn Hancock, the spokesperson for the United Steelworkers Union.
The union contract is good through January of 2015.
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