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LACMA, BP & The Oil Employees Strike

On February 1, 2015, 4,000 employees belonging to the United Steelworkers Union (USW), walked off their jobs at 9 oil refinery and chemical plants across the U.S. By Feb. 10 another 1,400 workers went on strike at two refineries in Indiana and Ohio. The strike now results 11 oil refinery and chemical plants used by BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Marathon Petroleum, and Lyondell Basell, together with those in California, Kentucky, Texas, and Washington. The USW represents 30,000 staff that run greater than 200 refineries, etf wti crude oil 2x terminals, and pipelines. The variety of staff on strike and on the picket line is over 5,000… up to now.

methanol extraction towerWhich facet are you on Workers on the picket line on the BP refinery in Indiana. Photograph/The Times of Northwest Indiana.

The staff are hanging because of unsafe and harmful working situations. Their grievances include a cease to “daily occurrences of fires, leaks, emissions, and explosions, brutal and harmful scheduling practices,” as well as layoffs, velocity-ups, and the hiring of inexperienced non-union labor.

The strike kicked-off when talks collapsed with Shell Oil, which is main the industry-broad negotiations. BP and the opposite oil corporations are actually hiring scab labor to maintain their operations going.

The work stoppage is the most important nationwide strike in the U.S. since 1980. Addressing the public and fellow staff both unionized and non-unionized, the strikers made it clear that “138 staff have been killed on the job whereas extracting, producing, or supporting oil and fuel in 2012,” a number “more than double” the fatalities suffered in 2009. The employees cost BP and the opposite oil giants with reducing again on safety protocols and intensifying layoffs and pace-ups to keep income high. Right here it needs to be remembered that eleven workers had been killed when BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank into the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010.

But what does any of this have to do with the Los Angeles Country Museum of Artwork (LACMA)
I have been writing in opposition to oil giant BP funding LACMA because the oily relationship was publicly introduced in June of 2007. I wrote the next in a June 2010 blog put up. It’s a good summation of my stance concerning LACMA director and CEO Michael Govan enthusiastically accepting cash from BP; which he said was dedicated “to sustainable power.”

“In 2007 Mr. Govan accepted $25 million from the oil firm and in return the museum constructed the so-referred to as ‘BP Grand Entrance’ on the LACMA campus. Each time an artist or arts group presents works beneath the BP Grand Entrance, it lends authority, respectability, and quiet approval to the machinations of one of many world’s greatest polluters; even when that presentation is of a ‘challenging’ nature – it nonetheless permits BP to current itself as a generous and ’socially responsible’ supporter of the arts. As one should pass via the BP Grand Entrance with a view to enter the LACMA museum complex, BP has succeeded in inserting its imprimatur upon each LACMA exhibit, not to mention its whole assortment.”

I always seen LACMA’s relationship with BP as an ethical dilemma for the arts group, from BP shaping an arts establishment to LACMA being a partner in the oil giant’s “greenwashing” propaganda. Nevertheless, the nationwide workers’ strike in opposition to BP provides a brand new wrinkle to the entanglement – revealing as soon as extra the tough interface between art and capitalism.

Workers picket BP refinery in Indiana, Feb. 2, 2015. Photograph/USW.
If hundreds of staff are on strike in opposition to BP because of deplorable working circumstances that are actually taking workers’ lives, and BP is a serious contributor to LACMA… what then does that make the museum Is it really an impartial establishment Does it really need to be stated which aspect LACMA is on – with the staff, their families and friends – or with BP Can Michael Govan and LACMA really tell the general public that the museum has nothing to do with politics or the strike, when LACMA takes BP’s cash and museum visitors must walk by the “BP Grand Entrance” to enter the museum

And what occurs if the workers’ national strike in opposition to BP and the opposite big oil firms grows larger, drawing in the 30,000 workers of the United Steelworkers Union and affecting the 200 U.S. websites they work at The union represents the employees that run almost two-thirds of the oil refining plants within the U.S.

The biggest nationwide strike in the U.S. since 1980. Picture/USW.
Within the glorious labor history of the United States, a motion that gave us the eight-hour day, larger wages, better working situations, paid holidays, and different benefits… when workers known as a strike, different staff and the general inhabitants supported it.

That’s how the working class in America advanced, not through the largess and goodwill of a super-rich minority, however by workers making demands on them and uniting in the cause to create a greater life for the majority.

The Los Angeles County Museum of Artwork makes use of union labor, as well as non-union labor, together with what’s euphemistically referred to as “volunteer” labor. Some 350 individuals are employed at LACMA, but there are also safety, janitorial, maintenance technicians, and different contracted laborers that work at LACMA. In June of 2012, LACMA staff have been fired as the museum regarded for tactics to “best deploy sources,” all the while spending $10 million dollars on the “Levitated Mass” project and paying director Govan an annual salary of $915,000 – twice the quantity etf wti crude oil 2x of a sitting U.S. president! What if staff at LACMA determined to stroll etf wti crude oil 2x off their jobs in solidarity with the placing employees who wage a life and death wrestle with BP