Conoco Phillips lays off 200 as profits surge

January 26, 2012 3:13:47 PM PST
Conoco Phillips handed out pink slips to nearly 200 refinery workers in Delaware County on Thursday even as the company reported a more than $3 billion surge in profits.

In the coming days more than 300 Conoco workers will get pink slips. On Thursday, unionized workers were in the cross hairs.

"I'm in my 27th year here. It's really hard," said Walter Campbell of Aston.

"It's the outsourcing of America," said Paul Snyder of Pitman, New Jersey.

Some of the freshly unemployed gathered this morning at the Keys Tippling House.

"They shut us down now! They just told us adios! You're done," said Dan Pugh of Trainer.

If it's offered, Terissa Lewis of Aston will take a transfer to another refinery even it means moving thousands of miles.

"I will do that. Do I want to? No, but I will," she said.

Most here know they are not likely to find a job that will match the $60,000 to $100,000 a year they made at the refinery.

If neighboring Sunoco closes next month this region of Delaware County could lose 1,000 good paying jobs.

Irv Beerson, who owns the local hardware store, figures the loss of so many taxpayers will be felt over much of county.

"The trickle-down effect is that a lot of these people didn't even live in Marcus Hook. They lived in surrounding communities," said Irv Beerson of Marcus Hook Hardware.

There is still a hope that someone with the right business model will step in and buy at least one of these refineries and operate it. But so far that someone has not stepped forward. Still, union Leaders remain hopeful.

"The plant manager we just had a meeting with said he is asking people to remain cautiously optimistic. For now, we do not know of any buyer," said Dennis Stephano of United Steel Workers.

For now, while a new owner is a hope, a pink slip is the reality.