By Wil Levins
Westville, NJ- Today is the last day for hourly workers who have been furloughed at Sunoco’s Eagle Point Refinery. The Eagle Point Refinery has been a economic staple of our surrounding communities since the Plant opened for business in 1949.
Through its 60 year history, the Eagle Point Refinery has been owned by Texaco, Coastal Oil, El Paso and as of January 2004, Sunoco. Many in the Delaware Valley saw Sunoco’s acquisition of the plant as a real boom for our local economies as Sunoco was known as a successful Philadelphia-based Independent Refiner.
It is amazing to me how fast the economy and the marketplace can turn in just two years. In 2008, gasoline prices were over $4.00 per gallon with soaring demand. Now, in a sinking economy, a pivotal employer and energy supplier to the Delaware valley has been removed from the market and thousands of lives adversely affected.
Four hundred jobs are predicted to be furloughed at Eagle Point Refinery but we should not forget the thousands of jobs and numerous businesses that may be lost in connection with the long-standing facility. Locally employed Contractors and Suppliers (from equipment to service to meals) will all take a hit from this unfortunate passing.
One worker expressed to me a sentiment that many in this industry share; “It never mattered what Company’s name was on our uniforms because we worked for the Plant, not the Company. Now our plant has been taken from us.” I have found that Refinery folk are like a huge family as we share a common understanding in our industry. My heart-felt sympathies go out to all of the Eagle Point Refinery families in this difficult time. May God bless you with renewed opportunity in these difficult times.