Shutdowns could mean a loss of 15,000 jobs beyond refineries

Ripple effects from the closing of three Philadelphia-area refineries could result in the loss of 15,000 jobs.

The three refineries have not met their final fate. Two owned by ConocoPhillips and Sunoco have been idled and all three are up for sale. Pink slips have gone out to workers.

New estimates anticipate the impact of those layoffs will reach far beyond the households of full-time refinery employees.

“There’s no telling how many businesses that are direct suppliers of goods and services to the refineries will either be shut out completely or will have to use different marketing strategies to find new customers,” said Frank Carey of Delaware County’s Office of Employment and Training.

“Otherwise, they’re going to have to start laying their own people off. So it’s very much a multiplier effect. It’s really too early to get very specific about it because we’re just at the tip of the iceberg.”

The secretary of Boilermakers Union Local 13 said repairs at the refinery make up 40 percent of the union’s work.

“That’s why we keep going to these protests and trying to talk to everybody as much as we can,” said John Clark. “We’re hearing numbers like this could affect 20,000 people, when you finally start circling out.

“Like the guy on the corner making hoagies. Or the guy selling gasket material to the refinery. Now it’s going to affect Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania,” he said. “It’s going to affect a lot of people.”

Clark and Carey are still awaiting final work on any refinery sale.

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