United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard announced that Kim Nibarger will be the new chair of the union's oil sector and head the oil bargaining nationwide. Nibarger replaces former oil bargaining chair, USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who retired
"Because he has served as both a safety expert and a local union president, Nibarger will bring crucial leadership and experience to this vital position," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.
Nibarger worked for 17 years in refinery operations. He was a chief operator for Shell Oil Products at its Puget Sound refinery in Anacortes, Wash., prior to taking a leave of absence in 2004 to work as a safety program coordinator for the former PACE union, which merged into the USW in 2005.
He served as a member and co-chair of the Joint Health and Safety Committee at the Anacortes refinery for eight years. During that time, he was the union's lead investigator on a team that probed the November 1998 explosion and fire that killed six refinery workers. He also was the USW's lead investigator into the 2005 explosion and fire at BP's Texas City refinery that killed 15 workers and injured over 180 others.
Nibarger also was the coordinator of the union's successful Triangle of Prevention (TOP) safety program, and analyzed the root causes of over 50 serious petrochemical accidents nationwide. In that role he trained over 250 union accident investigators.
"I will work to improve refinery and chemical workers' wages and benefits, but in this extremely dangerous industry, I will strive every day to improve safety," said Nibarger.
The USW is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, energy, chemicals, transportation, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments.
USW, (cell) 615-828-6169