Sunday, August 05, 2007

Socially Conscious Gas Guide, Part 2: Workers

In Part 1, we looked at the environmental records of the big gas companies. In Part 2, we'll consider how they treat their workforce, before moving on to Part 3 which will explore their human rights records.


Only one gas company makes it into Fortune's 100 Best Companies to Work For list-- Valero Energy, which comes in at #22. According to Fortune, Valero has 11 of the top 23 safest refineries in the U.S. offers 100% health insurance to all its employees, and has never laid off a worker. [Valero also does business as Shamrock, Diamond Shamrock, Ultramar, Becaon, and Total.]

Discrimination and Justice

Back in this post I talked about the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which looks at U.S. companies' record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues. Here's a more detailed look at the gas companies on the list:

  • 100 (perfect score): BP America and Chevron
  • 85: Shell
  • 78: Conoco
  • 0: ExxonMobil
    • ExxonMobil is one of only three companies on the whole 446-company list with a score of zero; actually, its point total added up to -5, but HRC doesn't give sub-zero scores.
  • Sunoco and Valero are unrated but there is information in HRC's website database that suggests they would fall somewhere in the middle on the rankings.
    • Valero includes sexual orientation but not gender identity/expression in its non-discrimination policy, and extends a whole host of benefits to same-sex partners.
    • Sunoco has a similar non-discrimination policy (sexual orientation is included, gender identity is not) but no domestic partner benefits.
Sunoco and Chevron-Texaco have both faced and settled anti-discrimination lawsuits on the basis of both race and gender.
Health and Safety

An explosion at BP's Texas City refinery killed 15 people in 2005, and an after-the-fact OSHA investigation found over 300 health and safety violations. By some measures, BP's safety record is the worst in its industry (including the highest number of fatalities), although BP claims that some of the measures used by critics are flawed... here's one exploration if you're interested.

Valero is seen as a leader on worker health and safety; however, there are still injuries and deaths at its refineries as well.

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