Workers gather to discuss safety concerns at North Atlantic refinery

Published on March 12, 2017

Glenn Nolan speaking at the gathering.

©Mark Squibb/TC Media

Several union leaders and North Atlantic refinery workers, both past and present, gathered together today at the Arnold’s Cove Lion’s Den to discuss safety concerns at the refinery due to November’s layoffs.

United Steelworkers 9316 local president Glenn Nolan says that in the four months since the layoffs, there has been no new safety plan on how to operate the refinery safely with fewer workers.

Large crowds gathered Sunday morning at the Arnold’s Cove Lion’s Den.
Mark Squibb/TC Media

“If you’re going to change something, have a plan!” he told those in attendance.

“We don’t want to be bad mouthing the employer, we just want an explained safety plan, we need to be part of the process safety management, we need to know the Management of Change, we need to know operating procedures. We need to know this,” Nolan told TC Media.

“You have to follow practices, and you have to have safe practices put in place before you do something.  You have to have Management of Change.  We have not received that.  We haven’t received the management changes, and how to change it to be safe.  Then you need operating procedures, because we’re a refinery.  Then you need the Process Hazard Assessment of how it’s going to be done.  Then you need the worker … we’ve been asking for this since the day of the lay-offs.”

Nolan also drew parallels between the current situation and the death of two workers in 1998, which he says was due to ‘company negligence’.

During the gathering, Nolan expressed strong dissatisfaction with the provincial government’s lack of involvement in the situation.

“Dwight Ball has not returned a call, has not shown, hasn’t done a damn thing, and that bothers me!” he exclaimed at the gathering.

Nolan says that union leaders will continue to meet with both government and the company.

“We’ll constantly be pushing for resolutions.”

In addition to Nolan, Perry Feltham and Boyd Bussey, staff representatives with United Steelworkers, and NDP leader Earle McCurcdy all spoke at the gathering.