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Workforce Commission Executive Director Requests BP to Require Contractors to Use Louisiana Workers for Oil Spill Jobs

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  • Workforce Commission Executive Director Requests BP to Require Contractors to Use Louisiana Workers for Oil Spill Jobs

    Workforce Commission Executive Director Requests BP to Require Contractors to Use Louisiana Workers for Oil Spill Jobs

    BATON ROUGE (June 18, 2010) - In a letter to Doug Suttles, Chief Operating Officer of BP America, Inc., Louisiana Workforce Commission Executive Director Curt Eysink has requested BP immediately require all contractors and sub-contractors working for BP on oil spill efforts comply with a number of measures that ensure Louisiana workers are hired and trained for clean-up efforts in Louisiana.

    The full text of the letter is below:

    June 17, 2010
    Doug Suttles
    Chief Operating Officer
    Exploration & Production
    BP America Inc.
    501 Westlake Park Boulevard
    Houston, TX 77079

    The Deepwater Horizon oil spill has the potential to create an unemployment and economic crisis in Louisiana. Income lost to those who make their living in the fisheries, hospitality and tourism and many related industries threatens the way of life in South Louisiana. Now, the deepwater drilling moratorium that stems from the oil spill is threatening another major segment of our economy.

    One of the best means of militating against the near-term economic impact of this disaster is ensuring that the people who lose their jobs and income as a result of the spill get first priority for jobs that arc created in response to it. As the state agency responsible for workforce development and unemployment insurance for the people of Louisiana, the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) has a significant interest in ensuring that local, qualified labor is put to work and that our citizens continue to be able to earn a living and not have to rely on unemployment insurance benefits.

    In a May 15 email to the LWC, a BP attorney wrote:
    ". . .we agree with you that hiring bringing (sic) non-local labor when qualified local labor is readily available runs counter to our instructions. I have copied Doug Suttles who you probably have seen as a BP spokesman. Doug has issued explicit instructions on this subject. We are now creating a reporting mechanism for our contractors of general labor so we can insure they are making all responsible efforts to employ local qualified workers as a priority."

    That email was sent in response to an incident in St. Bernard Parish on May 14 in which several people from outside Louisiana who had been hired by a BP contractor were removed on suspicion of being undocumented aliens.

    Since then, participants in the Vessels of Opportunity Program have reported encountering boats from other states working for BP in Louisiana waters. An oilfield staffing company with offices in New Iberia, Maxum Industries, acknowledged on Monday that it had bused in labor from Mobile, AL, and Brownsville, TX, to fill vacancies with a BP contractor in Louisiana. It is apparent that the instructions to BP contractors have not been followed.

    In addition, we also have no confirmation that BP has created a reporting mechanism that ensures its contractors "arc making all reasonable efforts to employ local qualified workers as a priority."

    Despite BP's assurances that reports on state of residency of oil spill workers exist and would be forwarded to the State of Louisiana, we have not received those reports. It should also be noted that the LWC and other agencies of the State of Louisiana have made numerous requests for this information.

    The Louisiana Workforce Commission has taken more than 13,000 applications from individuals looking for clean-up work. Many have TWIC cards or various hazardous materials training and certifications. LWC staff has offered training to BP and its contractors on how to access those resumes directly and will continue to offer that training. LWC staff also will continue to connect these applicants directly with job vacancies or training that prepares them for oil spill-related work. We will take all appropriate steps to ensure that people whose livelihoods have been affected by the spill, and others from Louisiana, are qualified for jobs created by the spill. However, these efforts require cooperation and transparency from BP and its contractors.

    Therefore, we request that BP immediately:
    1. Report, and that it require all contractors and sub-contractors to report, detailed information on hires for oil spill-related work in Louisiana and in Louisiana waters. This information should include the name of the contractor and, for employees, first and last names, date of birth, last four digits of their Social Security Numbers, dates of employment, home addresses and occupations for which they were hired, and related training and certifications which qualify the employee.
    2. Require all of its contractors to coordinate with LWC and to use our pool of qualified Louisiana residents before allowing them to fill job openings with non-Louisiana residents. Our database of applicants is available online and LWC will train hiring managers on the use of our system.
    3. Require all of its training coordinators and providers in Louisiana to train only Louisiana residents for oil spill cleanup and response work until such time that the number of available Louisiana residents is insufficient to meet demand for these workers.
    4. Require that its training coordinators and providers in Louisiana use the LWC applicant database as their first source of people to recruit for required cleanup training.

    Given the urgency of these issues we request your response by close of business on Monday, June 21.

    Curt Eysink
    Executive Director
    Louisiana Workforce Commission
    cc: Jeffrey Heller
    Mark Crawford

    "Safety and security don't just happen, they are the result of collective consensus and public investment. We owe our children, the most vulnerable citizens in our society, a life free of violence and fear."
    -Nelson Mandela