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Lock Out the Kids!

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The refinery giant Tesoro has decided that it can’t allow youth baseball leagues to use the fields it owns next to its Martinez, California refinery. That’s because there are pickets at the plant due to the refinery strike. Oh, and also to protect the kids from the horrors of the outside agitator.

Oil giant Tesoro is locking out 600 youth baseball players from practicing on 15 fields located next to its refinery in Martinez, California. As part of a nationwide work stoppage involving some 7,000 workers, the Martinez workers have been on strike since Feb. 2, with regular pickets from the United Steelworkers and their allies protesting health and safety conditions.

“It’s for the safety of the kids and the parents and spectators that would have to cross picket lines,” Tesoro spokeswoman Patricia Deutsche explained to the local press. “We just don’t have to expose them to any negative interactions.”

In another interview, Deutsche specifically mentioned the threat of outside agitators from groups like Occupy, the California Nurses Association and Communities for a Better Environment, a group that works on environmental justice issues affecting low-income and minority communities.

These groups insist they pose no threat to children.

“This is a PR stunt,” said Nile Malloy, Northern California program director for Communities for a Better Environment. “It’s just really sad — like, really? … Everybody who protests is peaceful. They’re there to demonstrate solidarity with the workers, to protect the health and safety of the community, the climate.”

“Nurses are a threat to kids playing baseball?” said Charles Idelson, spokesman for the CNA. “How disgraceful [for Tesoro] to be blaming anybody else but themselves.”

“There’s just absolutely no way we’d picket a Little League field,” Scott told the Vallejo Times-Herald.

Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee told International Business Times “there have been reports of strike-related incidents deemed to be unsafe at the gates of our refinery and in the areas near the facility’s ballfields.” But when asked for more information about the “strike-related incidents,” Barbee said she did not “have additional details to share.”

That is pretty pathetic. I guess it is an attempt to turn the community against the strike, but that is lame.

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  • Ahenobarbus

    The refinery is probably spewing toxic fumes into the air, so maybe it is just as well.

    • My dad worked there (pipe-fitter) and nearly died of a toxic gas leak. It may have been Shell refinery back then, tho we went on calling it “Shell” long after it changed owners. My best friend’s dad worked at Shell/Tesco and was horribly burned in an accident. Our house on Grandview Ave backed up to the refinery… sometimes weird yellow suds would wash down thru our yard and into the sewer in the streets. On another occasion refinery reps and cops visited our house to see if one of us had shot out their light on the other side of the fence. They were all ready to arrest someone, but couldn’t prove anything, tho the rep pointed out the light would have shone in one bedroom window at night. I recall watching and smirking and thinking “Yes, and the light would just ruin my brother’s star & planet viewing thru his, luckily tucked away out of sight, telescope”

      Heh.

      But refineries must protect The Young-uns from strikers & picketers!

      • Vance Maverick

        Wow, amazing to hear the testimony. This certainly fits what one hears intermittently about these refineries from the news.

        In other words, it’s not a problem that kids are playing baseball near the refineries — it’s a problem that the refineries aren’t being decent neighbors or employers to the community.

      • dayvel

        This isn’t Shell, it’s the other refinery out by Highway 4. My grandfather worked there when it was Tidewater (Flying A.)

        ETA: I never expected to read about my hometown on LGM.

        • My error! But the rest of my tragic tale is true!

          • dayvel

            No doubt. That refinery has a horrible reputation. Our thrice-weekly local paper comes out tomorrow and we’ll see how this is going.

          • dayvel

            I must apologize for being totally wrong. Tesoro is Shell or vice versa. I didn’t realize they had changed the name on the refinery again.

            • ResumeMan

              I don’t believe that this refinery was ever Shell; Shell is on the other side of 680 and I think that one’s always been Shell.

              The refinery in question is called Golden Eagle, and it was formerly owned by Tosco (when they had a big crude unit explosion in ’99) and was briefly owned by Valero ~2000, before being bought by Tesoro. And yes, Golden Eagle has long had a shady reputation.

        • DrS

          I had no idea there were other people reading this blog that grew up in Martinez, CA.

          • dayvel

            Go Bulldogs.

            • DrS

              Class of 91 here.

              • dayvel

                Class of somewhat earlier than that.

          • mikeSchilling

            Where have you gone, DrS?
            A nation turns its lonely eye on you. Woo-woo-woo.

            (We rented an apartment there for a few months, between houses, very close to where 4 crosses 24.)

  • efgoldman

    That is pretty pathetic. I guess it is an attempt to turn the community against the strike

    Of course it’s pathetic. Lying your ass off in the face of obvious truth is always pathetic.

    • c u n d gulag

      “Of course it’s pathetic. Lying your ass off in the face of obvious truth is always pathetic.”

      Which, of course, means that the entire Modern Conservative movement and the GOP are pathetic.

      Too bad our MSM can’t see it!

  • postmodulator

    Will they also be coming out against Mom and apple pie?

    • keta

      If nothing else, this little story proves that baseball is America’s pastime!

  • keta

    Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee told International Business Times “there have been reports of strike-related incidents deemed to be unsafe at the gates of our refinery and in the areas near the facility’s ballfields.” But when asked for more information about the “strike-related incidents,” Barbee said she did not “have additional details to share.” Because my ass just caved in on itself when I pulled that last one out of it.

    • efgoldman

      Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee….

      Tina Barbee? Really? You’re making that up!

  • encephalopath

    The California outside alligator is not a thing to be sniffed at.

    • Lee Rudolph

      …and inside of an alligator, it’s too dark to read your scratch-and-sniff book.

  • Peterr

    I have visions of groups of fifteen picketers, 3-4 feet tall, all wearing matching cleats and white pants, carrying signs that say “Now you’ve got two strikes against you, Tesoro!”

    Even worse, from Tesoro’s perspective, they’ve already got a schedule worked out, with each group of fifteen paired with another group and already assigned to a specific 1.5 hour time slot to cover. They’ve already decided which group will take the first 5-7 minute turn while the other one rests in the shade until they get to take the field.

    They’ve even already got a schedule worked out for logistics — “you drive the picketers to the field, and we’ll pick them up” . . . “I’ll bring the treats this time and you’ve got the treats next time” . . .

    But the best part would be the coach’s huddle at the end of each 1.5 hour shift of picketing, when the coach hands the “game sign” to the kid with the most outstanding day of protesting. . . . “Timmy, you did great out there all day — lots of energy, lots of noise. Julie, you were wonderful with your jumping and your signwaving every time you had one in your hand. But the game sign today goes to Lou for giving us that new chant:

    Tesoro’s a bully, Tesoro’s just mean
    Tesoro can’t handle a soda machine!
    Tesoro’s a fraud, Tesoro’s just lame
    Tesoro thinks we can’t see right through their game.
    Tesoro had one strike, and now they’ve got two
    Tesoro! Give up now! We’re coming for you!

    Honestly, it would be hard to find a group of folks more prepared to work a picket line on short notice than a Little League baseball association.

  • Pete Gaughan

    (I live about 5 miles away.) Most pathetic aspect: The fields are a half mile from the refining equipment (with the tank farm between)… and the fields have their own gate! Which is why the PR person had to specify “at the gates” and “near the facility’s ballfields” separately, because the picket line is not at the athletic-field gate.

  • gratuitous

    The league rents the space for the fields from Tesoro, and has for 40 years. I wonder if this is a good time to remind everyone just why it’s a good idea to have public commons and a system of publicly owned municipal parks. Of course, that would mean taxes and other bad stuff, so it’s probably best to have the availability of the little league fields subject to the whim of the good people at Tesoro.

  • cpinva

    ” But when asked for more information about the “strike-related incidents,” Barbee said she did not “have additional details to share.”

    not yet. give them a week or so, and they will no doubt have two or three “incidents” to report on. pros don’t work cheap you know.

    • Even the Pinkertons need time.

      • efgoldman

        Even the Pinkertons need time.

        I think 21st century Pinkertons are mostly minimum-wage mall cops who are all built like Chris Christie, but with Wal-Mart clothes or polyester uniforms. Not really threats as strikebreakers unless they get cut in line at the Arches.

  • Tehanu

    Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee told International Business Times “there have been reports of strike-related incidents deemed to be unsafe at the gates of our refinery and in the areas near the facility’s ballfields.”

    Am I the only person who hears Hedley Lamarr talking here? “Under the provisions of this bill we would snatch 200,00 acres of Indian territory, which we have deemed unsafe for their use at this time.”

  • rdennist

    Someone get Bill O’Reilly on the scene. A War Zone in America!

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