August 2, 2019 / 3:51 PM / 23 days ago

PES refinery is not planning severance or benefits for union workers: sources

(Reuters) - Philadelphia Energy Solutions does not plan to give its more than 600 union employees severance pay or health benefits once they are laid off at the end of the month, as the oil refinery winds down after filing for bankruptcy, two sources familiar with the plan said.

    Certain operations at the Pennsylvania refinery tied to environmental safety will be managed by non-union employees after Aug. 25, the sources said.

PES filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on July 21, exactly a month after a large fire and series of explosions at an alkylation unit at the 335,000-barrel-per-day plant. The refinery had been struggling for years, having only emerged from a previous bankruptcy in the middle of last year.

The company initially announced it would lay off more than 1,000 employees by mid-July, but it later extended the employment of the plant’s union workers.

Representatives of the local steelworkers union began negotiations last month with PES over compensation and benefits for laid-off workers.

Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York and Jarrett Renshaw in Philadelphia; Editing by Susan Thomas

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