Survey: Oil Workers Fear Harassment : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Survey: Oil Workers Fear Harassment The Associated Press, Mon 13 Nov 2000

ANCHORAGE (AP) B A new survey finds workers at the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. are experiencing continued intimidation and harassment for reporting safety concerns along the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline.

Workers who responded to a survey conducted by the government agency that oversees the pipeline said the alleged harassment came from a couple of executives at Alyeska headquarters.

At least 108 of 900 workers complained of harassment in responding to the survey, conducted by the Joint Pipeline Office, a combined state-federal agency. A total of 3,000 questionnaires were distributed to Alyeska employees.

Alyeska vowed six years ago to end harassment of whistleblowers after a government audit found lax management, falsified reports and other problems. Many of those problems had previously been pointed out by workers who then suffered retaliation from managers.

The company has since paid out millions of dollars to settle whistleblower harassment complaints and millions more to correct the problems along the pipeline that were disclosed by the workers.

``Our major issues of concern with the pipeline are safety, integrity and environmental issues,'' said Rhea DoBosh, spokeswoman for the JPO. ``If employees are not comfortable in raising concerns about those areas how can we have complete confidence in the system? How do we know there's not a problem if somebody's afraid to raise it?''

Alyeska officials did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment on preliminary findings from the survey.

A final report on the survey is expected to be completed by the end of the month, DoBosh said. It will include recommendations on how Alyeska should address the problems found.

The preliminary findings show there has been no noticeable improvement in worker attitudes about the company's Employee Concerns Program since the last survey in 1998. The Employee Concerns Program trains managers in how to react when whistleblowers come forward with concerns.

``In reviewing other corporations that have had this problem it's taken several years to turn it around. It's just proved to be a more stubborn problem for Alyeska than anyone anticipated,'' DoBosh said.

Copyright 2000 Associated Press

-- Martin Thompson (, November 13, 2000

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