O'Mara standing with PES workers

On Tuesday, my staff and I attended a meeting at the United Steelworkers District 10-1 union hall in Norwood so we could hear directly from workers who are being impacted by the explosion and impending shut down of the oil refinery currently run by Philadelphia Energy Solutions (PES) in South Philadelphia. Also in attendance were Congresswoman Mary Gay Scanlon, members of Delco County Council, and state representatives from all over southeastern Pennsylvania, from both sides of the aisle. This is a nonpartisan issue, and I was glad to see so many come together to recognize that. 


The oil refinery in South Philadelphia has been in the industry since 1866 and has been instrumental in providing home heating oil, gasoline, and other refined sources of energy for states up and down the eastern seaboard for over a century. Now, after a recent explosion and fire, PES has announced they are suddenly shutting down the refinery, a huge surprise for thousands of workers in the region who depend on the refinery for their incomes. Thirteen families from my district are being impacted by the shut down, and that number only includes current employees, not retirees. In addition, over 2,000 union jobs and 30,000 tertiary jobs will be impacted in this region if we do nothing.  


One thing to me is abundantly clear — we owe it to the workers of the refinery to fight for their jobs. In the face of an emergency event that could’ve led to catastrophic results, the workers acted with professionalism and an expertise that was necessary to ensure no lives were lost and damages were mitigated. And this is precisely why unions are so important. They work tirelessly to train their workers to ensure our safety and the safety of our community and environment. I will work tirelessly with my colleagues, labor leaders, and other stakeholders to ensure our workers are not left behind and we find a just solution that works for the city and the surrounding counties. 


If you or your family are being impacted by the impending shutdown of the refinery, please email us at repomara@pahouse.net or call at 610-544-9878. We are here to serve.