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BP’s Watchdog Failed To Act On Whistleblowers’ Concerns, Employees Say

Illustration: Lance Page / t r u t h o u t

This story was originally published at Truthout.org and was reported by Jason Leopold, TPR’s editor-at-large and Truthout’s investigative reporter and deputy managing editor.

Over the past year, BP’s office of the ombudsman has been presented with dozens of safety concerns and evidence that would appear to support claims of widespread retaliation against employees who work for Acuren, one of the beleaguered oil company’s contractors on Alaska’s North Slope.

But the watchdog has failed to investigate the allegations and in some instances has prematurely closed cases without conducting a thorough probe, a three-month investigation by Truthout has found.

Additionally, employees who raised issues about safety and retaliation have singled out BP’s deputy ombudsman, Billie Garde, accusing her of breaching their confidentiality by sharing sensitive documents and disclosing other closely-guarded information with executives at BP and Acuren that identified the employees who leveled the charges. Acuren is a firm that specializes in inspecting gas lines and pipelines for corrosion.

Former BP North America President Bob Malone set up the ombudsman’s office in the aftermath of a March 2006 oil spill on the North Slope amid revelations that surfaced during a congressional investigation that the company retaliated against employees who raised red flags about the safety and integrity of the company’s Prudhoe Bay operations and at the company’s Texas City refinery where 15 employees were killed and 170 others were injured in an explosion in March 2005.

Garde, an attorney who has represented whistleblowers in the oil and gas industry for decades, refused repeated requests to comment for this story.

Two weeks ago, Garde traveled to Alaska to meet with Acuren employees in an attempt to win back their trust. But several employees who attended the meetings said Garde has “no credibility” and their feelings about her and the ombudsman’s office in general has not changed.

“I just can’t trust her or the ombudsman’s office at this point,” said one Acuren employee, who, like other employees interviewed by Truthout, requested anonymity because he fears he could lose his job for speaking publicly. “She still hasn’t put her words into action. She has not responded to my emails. She has not provided me with a status update about my case and until these issues are resolved I won’t look to [the ombudsman’s office] as a place where I can get help.”

Steve Rinehart, a spokesman for BP Exploration Alaska, said in an interview that the company “is aware that a number of Acuren employees working on BP Alaska projects have presented workplace concerns to the ombudsman’s office.”

“In order to protect the workers’ privacy, we won’t discuss the cases publicly,” Rinehart said. “However, each and every one of these concerns has either been investigated, is currently being investigated or will be investigated. Some concerns take longer than others to investigate and resolve. Those considered more urgent are handled earlier than others. BP and the ombudsman’s office have communicated an expectation that Acuren strengthen its employee concerns process, to ensure that employees can bring concerns forward without fear of retaliation.”

Rinehart said he could not disclose the financial terms of the ombudsman’s contract.

“Commercial terms and condition of all third-party contracts are confidential,” he said.

Truthout was contacted by dozens of employees who work for BP Exploration Alaska and Acuren in late June after we published an exclusive report that centered on a letter signed by BP ombudsman Stanley Sporkin, the retired federal court judge and ex-general counsel of the CIA during the Iran-Contra years.

The February 3 letter prepared for BP Exploration Alaska President John Minge and and the House Energy and Commerce Committee touted the success of the ombudsman program in resolving employee concerns and cited one particular case involving an Acuren employee as an example.

The letter claimed the ombudsman’s office intervened in a high-level safety concern presented to the watchdog by a “concerned individual” during the summer of 2008 involving a high pressure natural gas line that needed to be cleaned due to corrosion build up, but was being delayed for unknown reasons. The letter claimed that only when the ombudsman’s office stepped in to address the matter and worked closely with BP Exploration Alaska management was the corrosion issue resolved.

“This is an example of the value from our intervention activities,” the letter stated.

But the letter grossly misrepresented the true nature of the events involving this incident. For one, the “concerned individual” who the letter claims contacted the ombudsman’s office in 2008 was fired in 2007.

As Truthout previously reported, the issue first surfaced in late 2005, a year before the ombudsman’s office was established, when Stuart Sneed, a pipeline safety technician, contacted Paul Flaherty, an environmental investigator who, since 2002, has provided BP Exploration Alaska employees and its contractors a confidential avenue to raise concerns.

In an interview in June, Flaherty said he confirmed Sneed’s account and found that a large number of “ultrasonic external corrosion inspections” indicated the integrity of the line at issue was a major concern that needed immediate attention.

Acuren management retaliated against Sneed for taking complaints directly to Flaherty and to BP Exploration Alaska officials. He waged an unsuccessful and costly legal battle against Acuren to get his job back after he was fired from the company for a bogus safety violation. In an interview in June, Flaherty said Sneed was subsequently “blacklisted” within the oil and gas industry, and has been “without a job since 2007 because of his willingness to raise integrity and safety issues.”

Garde, who prior to the inception of the ombudsman’s office had accepted contract work from BP and other Alaska oil and gas company’s dealing with employee concerns, worked with Flaherty on an investigation into Sneed’s claims of retaliation and allegations that technicians falsified inspection data reports, which they both substantiated, according to a report jointly written by Garde and Flaherty in 2006.

Senior BP Exploration Alaska officials, who work closely with the ombudsman’s office, told Truthout that the letter Sporkin signed in February was actually prepared by Garde and that she bears the burden for misstating the facts pertaining to the corrosion issue cited in the document. These officials added that it’s well known within BP and Acuren that Sporkin is simply a “figurehead,” and Garde handles most of the ombudsman’s office’s work.

The BP ombudsman’s website says Garde “has been instrumental in establishing the Ombudsman Program for BP America and ensuring the program’s success.”

The letter signed by Sporkin also noted that “contractor retaliation complaints” continue to be “the biggest single category of concerns that our office receives.” Half of the more than 200 complaints the office has received originated from employees who work for BP Exploration Alaska.

“We have made specific recommendations regarding the need to tackle this issue on a programmatic basis,” the letter states. “We are now in discussions with [BP Exploration Alaska] and BP America, Inc. to address these issues.”

Unethical Behavior

But Acuren employees who filed safety and retaliation complaints said they have not seen any progress. They said the ombudsman’s office, and Garde specifically, have allowed their concerns to languish for months and the representatives in the office have not returned employees’ phone calls and emails inquiring about the status of their cases.

“I’m aware that the ombudsman’s office has a stack of at least 18 legitimate concerns that they aren’t doing anything about,” one Acuren employee said.

The ombudsman’s office places employee concerns into three categories: level 1 represents “system integrity or safety issues” and is the most serious; issues that could impact safety are classified as level 2, and human resources issues are identified as level 3.

Documents obtained by Truthout show that several employee concerns that allegedly has not been acted on are level 1 “process safety” issues.

Fritz Gunther, a turbine technician who works for BP Exploration Alaska and is a member of the United Steelworkers union local 4959, said he too has had problems with getting the ombudsman’s office to respond to his concerns in a timely manner.

“I filed a complaint with the ombudsman’s office three to four weeks ago over [alleged] violations of the [Americans with Disabilities Act] and [BP’s internal] anti-discrimination policy and an investigator was supposed to call me back,” Gunther said in an interview last week. “I never heard from them so after three weeks I called the office again and gave them hell. The gal finally did file my concern and gave me a case number. But I haven’t heard back since then. Our union has also filed a grievance to that affect on September 23.”

Some of these Acuren employees said they have sought outside legal advice, but they have not taken their complaints to any federal or state agency.

Other employees said Garde has only recently taken steps to address a few of the cases after Flaherty, who has worked closely with the ombudsman’s office since 2008, abruptly ended his association with the watchdog, reportedly due to its failure to investigate the concerns and take appropriate action. Flaherty had told Sporkin and Garde in March that they should advise BP Exploration Alaska to terminate its contract with Acuren, according to employees he spoke with and other individuals close to Flaherty.

“I am ending my involvement with the [Office of Ombudsman],” Flaherty wrote in an August 29 email obtained by Truthout that was sent to Garde, Sporkin,  Minge and other BP Exploration Alaska officials. “I have significant differences with both senior BP [management] and several people within the [Office of Ombudsman] on the basic elements of an employee concerns program and leadership on several necessary corrective actions. I believe these programs require complete independence to protect worker identities and mutual trust…I am not happy that I have to make this decision, but I cannot ignore the reality of what has transpired over the last 9 months – I will leave it at that in this note.”

Flaherty declined to comment when contacted about his email and the allegations by Acuren employees that their concerns were not addressed. Rinehart, the BP spokesman, also declined to comment on Flaherty’s email.

Acuren employees said Flaherty was the only person who had tried to get their concerns addressed. They added that Flaherty had told them another reason he decided to part ways with the ombudsman’s office was due to widespread allegations that Garde is untrustworthy and jeopardized the jobs of many employees by turning over a spreadsheet her office prepared to BP Exploration Alaska officials and Dennis Lee, the head of Acuren’s Alaska operations, that contained every Acuren employees’ concern dating back to 2007.

Lee used the spreadsheet to identify the employees who complained to the ombudsman’s office about safety and integrity issues and alleged they were harassed and retaliated against for speaking out.

The spreadsheet also contained names of some Acuren employees. Lee read from the spreadsheet during meetings with employees in recent months and stated that he knew who the anonymous employees were and their charges were false, Acuren employees who were present at the meeting said.

Corrosion Data Manipulation

A copy of the spreadsheet was shown to Truthout. It states that employees have complained to the ombudsman’s office about harassment, intimidation, retaliation, racial discrimination, inadequate training, exposure to radiation, falsifying records, the mishandling of equipment and, perhaps the most serious charge, the manipulation of corrosion monitoring data.

Acuren employees said individuals who disclosed to the ombudsman’s office that corrosion monitoring data was being manipulated were subjected to the worst harassment and retaliation. At least one employee was demoted and he and others had letters of reprimand stuffed into their personnel file, a precursor to termination that falsely accused them of a wide-range of violations.

When pipelines and gas lines are inspected and corrosion is discovered that may require BP to make repairs, the information that is entered into a database is later altered in such a way so as to appear favorable to the BP and Acuren management team, employees said.

“The data determines whether repairs need to be done, but some technicians are being pressured to change the data after inspections,” one Acuren employee said. “A simple query in the database, however, could expose how the [corrosion] data that was originally entered was replaced that either shows no [corrosion] build up or minimal build up. This is a major safety issue and several BP managers are well aware it is happening.”

Severe corrosion was the catalyst behind the March 2006 pipeline rupture that spilled more than 200,000 gallons of oil across two acres of frozen tundra – the second largest spill in Alaska’s history – which went undetected for nearly a week.

Some of the concerns, if substantiated, said two senior BP officials familiar with the complaints, could put the lives of employees at risk and lead to a catastrophic event at BP’s North Slope oil facilities if they are not immediately addressed.

The spreadsheet shared with Lee also indicates that some of the concerns brought to the attention of the ombudsman’s have not yet been addressed.

Flaherty told Garde, according to several employees who spoke with him, that they suspected her of leaking the spreadsheet to Lee, that they did not trust her and believed she is too close to BP Exploration Alaska officials and Acuren management.

Garde responded by writing a letter dated July 9 that Acuren mailed to the homes of all of its employees explaining how information from employees is treated by the ombudsman’s office. Acuren sent the letter to the homes of all of its employees, accompanied by a notice urging them to read it.

“It has recently come to the attention of the BP Office of the Ombudsman that concerns have surfaced surrounding a potential breach of confidentiality within our office,” Garde wrote. “This potential breach is alleged to involve Acuren employee concerns…When a Concerned Individual (CI) contacts the Office of the Ombudsman to raise a concern, they have the option of doing so anonymously. If a CI identifies themselves, they may request the Office maintain their confidentiality, i.e. not divulge their identity or any information, which could compromise the CI’s identity. Our office takes this commitment very seriously, and works to protect the identity of the confidential CI’s during every step of the concern resolution process. Any actions taken by the Office of the Ombudsman that could potentially identify a confidential CI will first be reviewed with the CI. As a practical matter, the process of raising concerns internally and then bringing those same issues to the Office can result in situations in which may [sic] guess who the CI is. We will not confirm or deny any speculations; and any actions by anyone to confirm identities of who has contacted our office would not be appropriate.”

An Acuren employee said Garde’s letter was a “clear attempt to cover her own ass for disclosing confidential information to the retaliator.”

“We were told specifically by Billie Garde that any complaints we file will be 100 percent confidential,” the employee said. “Some of us who made our concerns known were confronted with information from management that only she knew.”

Garde conducted an “investigation” into the employees’ charges, which essentially amounted to investigating herself, people close to the Ombudsmen’s office said, and concluded the allegations had no merit.

Jeanne Pascal, the Environmental Protection Agency’s former debarment counsel who spent a decade working on BP-related issues, said she understands why employees don’t trust Garde.

“She leaked information I gave to the Office of Ombudsman during my [debarment] negotiations with BP,” Pascal said in an interview. “No [BP Exploration Alaska] contract employee who talked to me about BP in Alaska ever said that they trusted Billie Garde. In fact, every employee I worked with said they did not trust her. Although I was not always certain why, their lack of trust made me very cautious around her. I think that the Office of Ombudsman should remain a mandatory outside function, and that retaliatory mangers in BP [Exploration Alaska] and its contractors should be replaced.”

Pascal had previously told Truthout that BP’s primary goal in negotiations with EPA in February on a settlement related to debarment was to get rid of the ombudsman’s office and replace it with a BP employee. Pascal said BP wanted to control the outcome and information being divulged to the government, which she “adamantly” opposed and said she “continues to oppose.”

Her support for the ombudsman’s office began to wane when she learned that Flaherty was no longer working with the watchdog.

On September 9, Pascal sent an email to Sporkin stating that her “support has always been based on the integrity, objectivity and professionalism of [Sporkin] and Paul Flaherty.”

“Mr. Flaherty has sterling ethics, and I have confirmed this over and over again by my personal experience with him over many, many years,” Pascal wrote. “I continue to support you, but I do not support your office given the current circumstances and the close interaction and direction your office is under from BP management. Although I trust some BP managers, those people are not in positions of power at the moment. Unfortunately, you are not now conducting investigations on the slope in person; therefore your knowledge about facts and circumstances is not first hand. I am concerned about the accuracy of the information you are getting. Mr. Flaherty’s resignation should speak volumes to you on this topic.”

Gunther, the BP Exploration Alaska turbine technician, said, “the ombudsman’s Office has value as long as Ms. Garde is not associated with them.”

“I had voiced a concern with Ms. Garde during a strike when she was [on the North Slope years ago] and 10 minutes later I got a visit from Florian Borokowski, [BP’s former human resources manager] telling me the company is well aware of my concerns,” Gunther said. “It was so glaringly obvious that Ms. Garde ratted me out to [human resources].”

Allegations by Acuren and BP Exploration Alaska employees that Garde had acted unethically mirrors similar claims leveled by one of her former clients, Joseph Tracanna. Tracanna, a whistleblower, had filed an ethics complaint against Garde with the Washington, DC State Bar for which she received an informal letter of admonishment in October 2003 for conduct that “reflected a disregard of certain ethical standards” related to allegations that she represented the interests of Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, operator of the Trans Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), which is majority owned by BP, rather than Tracanna’s interests.

Scott West, the former special agent-in-charge of the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division who spent more than a year investigating the March 2006 oil spill said BP Exploration Alaska employees he has been in contact with have always been “leery of the ombudsman’s office because they believed it was controlled by BP and not truly an independent outfit.”

“Employees I spoke with specifically cited Billie Garde as someone they wouldn’t deal with because she has worked for BP in various capacities over the years,” said West, who is now head of investigations for environmental group Sea Shepherd. “They see her as being too close to BP management.”

Contract Renewal

The criticism of Garde and the ombudsman’s office in general, however, may become a moot point come next June when the watchdog’s contract expires. BP recently announced that it intended to step up its internal employee concerns program.

Rinehart said the company has “extended the ombudsman’s contract twice since inception in 2006. It is currently running until June 2011. At this point we have not made a decision about extending.”

Gunther, the BP Exploration Alaska turbine technician, said his company is incapable of addressing employee concerns.

“Thinking that BP is going to guarantee anonymity is a joke,” Gunther said. “Thinking that you will be able to take issues directly to BP without retribution is an even bigger joke.”

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37 Responses for “BP’s Watchdog Failed To Act On Whistleblowers’ Concerns, Employees Say”

  1. dano says:

    Never, ever in my life have I read such an unfounded, inaccurate, biased “report”. I am an Acuren employee on the North Slope, and can attest to the fact that this story in no way whatsoever represents the way things work up here. The source of 99% of these “issues” are caused by a very select few individuals who are abusing the ombudsman program by using it to perpetuate unfounded, petty personal issues. Maybe I reperesent silent majority, but Acuren by and large is an excellent employer. We are encouraged daily to bring forth any safety concerns, or other concerns, and in my own expericece these concerns are addressed in a timely, very professional manner. Never in my 13+ years in the industry have I worked for a more forthright, transparent, and honest manager as Mr. Dennis Lee, and it deeply diturbs me that this type of unfounded slander is printed about him. Dennis puts his whole heart into this project, and in my opinoin his number one concern is the employees; both their safety and their quality of life at the workplace. Who did the writers of this crap talk to? The 1% of the employees who are disgruntled because of petty, bogus complaints, and who use (abuse) ombudsman programs and “investigative” reports to furter their cause – thats who. There was a lot of people who were never asked about what REALLY goes on; I guess that doesn’t make for a good story.

  2. Michael Schaale says:

    I’m 100% satisfied with my career choice. Everything that Acuren put in my contract has been upheld. Jason, you are a giant douche lord. Holy fuck! How does it feel to wake up a cry baby bitch. Did you get picked on in HS? Where are these documents that you speak of? Put up or shut up. Matter of fact i’ll be in Anchorage in a few hours and we fight it out. You should post this! I dare you. I’m attacking your character and your legacy that im sure will fade faster than this bullshit article you wrote.

  3. Hey Michael, your comment will stay up because it’s actually very funny. I haven’t been challenged to a fight since I was a teenager. I’m sure most people who read this will get a kick out of your response.

    In the meantime, you can find all of the documents here: http://www.truth-out.org/employees-say-bps-ombudsmans-office-neglected-their-concerns64502

  4. Michael Schaale says:

    awesome…..thanks for being a progressive in the “pussification of the male gender” movement. Anyways…..yeah, i’ll be in Anchorage at around 4:30. You bring the tard helmet complete with mini side mirror. I’ll be outside shadow boxing like Money Mayweather, warming up to rain stiff jabs to that giant orb you call a cranium. I’ll even buy you drink after i whip 7 shades of dumb ass off of you. In all seriousness, I like the management and i like how they conduct themselves both at work and off the job. I also understand that im a different type of employee. You see, I go to work, i stay out of trouble and i go home. Thats it…enough said. I have never had to consult the ombudsmen nor has anyone had to call the them on me. I like Dennis and the management. I’ll shake hands and stand behind them 100%. I stay loyal to the ones who stay loyal to me. LOYALTY…..google it

  5. Mad as Hell says:

    I work with Acuren in Prudhoe Bay and, from my experience, 99% of this article represents the feelings of 1% of the employees. It appears to me that you had 2 sources, tops concering my company… Not a very representative sampling.

  6. SloperAK says:

    I am honestly amazed that after everything Dennis Lee and Acuren have done for us that we’d have anyone that could cry foul.
    The biggest surprise I got out of this article was that anyone would be so shallow as to risk the jobs of 250 of their cow-workers for 5 minutes of fame. There is a right way and a wrong way to go about things

  7. Joanne Bibbins says:

    You write in you article that evidence has been presented that would APPEAR to support claims of widespread retaliation against Acuren employees; I am troubled by the manipulative inference in your article that you APPEAR speak for the majority of Acuren employees. I have never experienced any of the “widespread” retaliation that you so indiscriminately wave about and would be interested to know what criteria you are using to differentiate between the handling of an employee’s unsafe or inadequate job performance and their version of perceived retaliation. An oft-repeated joke on the Slope is that a call to the Ombudsman provides instant job security regardless of performance. I understand that people’s perceptions differ, but isn’t an investigative reporter supposed to present a balanced view? I see nothing in your report about the many employees who feel that Acuren is an excellent company to work with. Over the years I have worked on the North Slope for several inspection companies; Acuren continues to invested time, money and energy to advance the standard of a safe, comfortable and rewarding work environment.

  8. In disbelief says:

    This article does nothing to describe the Dennis Lee I work with up on the slope, he is a safety concious, hard working, willing to do anything for his employees kind of guy and most of all a guy who is way up on the food chain still wanting to be our friend. There has been alot of bashing from people lately about this man and its a bunch of crap, you dont ever hear him complaining about the bullcrap he has to put up with, all the childish stupid behavior and comments he has to deal with from grown adults. You people making all these aquisations and comments probably do deserve better and should go work somewhere else. I have worked many different places in the last 19 years and would love to be there when you go to your new job and see how long your sniveling lasts. I have never witnessed any other place with as much patience and forgivness from management as up on the slope with Acuren. I encourage you and am willing to help you find a new job so you can get off the slope with your unappreciative attitudes. I can guarentee it wont be very long untill you realize how stupid you were for thinking Dennis and the management team up here treated you poorly. Learn to appreciate the things you have and realize the world does not revolve around you, you have to be willing to adapt to your work place and not expect it to adapt to you. Dennis, I have never before and probably will never again have the chance to work with a man of more integrity and love for his employees than you and the management team you have put together, thank you for staying tough and continuing to do an outstanding job through all this, I will stand behind you anytime and am proud to be your employee.
    Brad

  9. Not in Disbelief says:

    Amazing. What I seem unable to understand is that you few people whom have chosen to express your discontent at this article’s content assume that your reality with Acuren is the only reality. It is you that assume the world revolves around your perceptions and dealings with your company. I am in no way saying that you are lying when you say that Acuren is the best company in the universe to work for but, what I am saying is that you need to wake up and realize you’re not the only person in the room.
    Let me put it this way…. You and your sister go spend some time with your uncle. After your time with him, your sister comes to you and says she was molested. According to your illogical arguments, this would mean she has to be making this stuff up because it never happened to you.

    Understand this. If retaliation, intimidation, harassment, or discrimination is levied against one…just one employee, then it is WRONG. Speaking of Dennis Lee, my relationship with him was great while I ‘kept my head down and tail wagging’. The second I questioned Acuren’s management and the directions in which they were heading… it was all over with. Dennis Lee did do exactly what this article outlines. At the very least, it was inappropriate behavior. You people have no idea how others are dealt with behind the scenes of your reality.

    Billie Garde has acted without regard to ethics and has proven that the past does indeed repeat itself. What she has done is like writing down what your sister (I spoke of earlier) told you and then giving to your uncle to “investigate” the matter. Doesn’t sound too intelligent to me but what do I know.

    So, I ask you this: Is Jason wrong for providing an outlet and exposing the type of behavior that actually does exist on the slope? Is he wrong for allowing Billie Garde the opportunity to tell her side of the story? Are the people that report the retaliation and intimidation and safety issues wrong for not shutting their mouth? Is the current regime (Acuren) not getting their policies and directions from the same corporate office that ran Canspec (the “previous inspection company” that were sending emails saying ‘Let the Stu Sneed beating begin today’)?

    Granted, maybe not 100% of the reports to the ombudsman or other entities are valid, but, according to my personal experience, a vast majority of them are more than valid. You say that you are the “silent majority” but all I see are people that are part of the problem because you’re definitely not part of the solution. So, go ahead and give yourselves the high-fives and kudos for sticking up for your narrow perceptions and ignoring the reality that exists right underneath your noses.

    And Shaale….grow up. All you succeeded in doing was give a couple of people a laugh and demonstrate exactly how hostile it really is up here if you bring up an issue.

  10. My two cents (Tim) says:

    Appears to me that there’s obviously a few people scared for their jobs and are beguiling a overly adornment over a man out of fear. Judging by the language in the article- seems some of these responses might be coerced. Has any investigation been formally and federally done on this? Why don’t we have people looking into the matter considering BP’s track record of spilled oil and corroded lines, especially since it concerns BP’s hired inspection company.

  11. Dave says:

    You think not in disbelief could be one of the guys with a petty personal issueI? I think its cute this guy is how the only one to post that couldnt back it up with a name.

  12. Hardworker says:

    At least shalle had balls enough to stand up and but a name behind his words. Not in disbelief should go somewhere else and work if it sucks so bad up here. What a “giant douch lord” too.

  13. Brian says:

    Yes Mr. Not in Disbelief, but if you and your sister were expected to do some work for the food, lodging, and money your uncle was providing for you and you actually did your job while your sister was a lazy sack and your uncle paid you more or gave you better praises while your sister got repremanded for not doing her job and decides to cry molestation to divert the fact that she is slacking off and not carrying her weight, you have to take that into consideration.

  14. Brian says:

    There is no reason to fear management at any job and i dont fear them here. if i was scared of management i would definitly go somewhere else to work, but perhaps thats not an option for you to do because of your work ethics. i have never seen any reason to fear acuren management and the whole boy crying wolf theory is what i am reminded of with the people i have heard complain because its the same people who complain about everything, you can only take so many complaints to heart when you have witnessed the same person complaing about things that you see are not true or blwn way out of proportion, i do believe that you should want to have a happy and respectful workplace and if you really dont believe that acuren provides that go somewhere else. there are plenty of people who would gladly take your job and be grateful for the great work enviroment acuren provides up here.

  15. way back east says:

    I think its great that this site is available for you guys to post your opions.
    : )

  16. Baffled says:

    I am completely stunned at the hostility in the sheer comment section of this site. I work in Prudhoe Bay, infact within the C.I.C. office. You’d not expect me to be one of the individuals with concern – yet I am. My production numbers are high and the 7 years I have been employed, I have no scorns against my safety or quality. In terms of production, I am one of the most stellar in my department – but yet again, why should that matter? My issues are the same in value as anyone else. Why are we met with such hostile nature in our environment when anyone cites anything that is in disagreement with your train of thought.

    Why should it matter at all if a person is a guy (or girl) that works themselves with a solid work ethic?

    Do you know any of these people who have brought up issues?

    Do you even care to listen at all to anyone who has a legitimate concern or issue?

    There are always actions that occur outside the realm of your front door. I only wish you could pause your hatred and hostilities and open your eyes and ears and really listen to the concerns of those around you.

    @Schaale – …really? Are you *really* threatening the writer with bodily harm? You of all people stand and shout how openly you endorse ‘AMERICA DUDE!’ – Whats the first amendment? It absolutely baffles me you openly proclaim yourself to be an Acuren employee – and such a stellar face and name you bring to the company, leading by example, right? No Harassment, No Intimidation?

    “Holy fuck! How does it feel to wake up a cry baby bitch. Did you get picked on in HS? Where are these documents that you speak of? Put up or shut up. Matter of fact i’ll be in Anchorage in a few hours and we fight it out. ”

    Merriam-Webster defines Harassment as : (Tr.Verb): to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct.

    …Mirrors. They’re for more than brushing your hair…

  17. Luke Webster says:

    The biggest problem I see with the Acuren group while I had worked there was a hostile union that is hell bent on trying to run a company. Acuren has an awesome group of employees and managers. Not sure if the union issues come from the union or the fools they have there representing the union.

    Employees of Acuren: The problem is you have a couple douches (your union reps) and a ton of great people that unfortunately listen to the chicken littles and believe the BS they spread. I heard it first hand a certain Union Rep lying to an employee and putting words in a mangers mouth that were untrue. These guys are compulsively lying and trying to play politics. I don’t care if you keep you union (actually i think you should can them) however if you don’t can them can the reps they do not serve you guys well at all. Get some straight up honest people as your Reps.

    On a side note: Matt this is Luke I hope I get the chance to not hire you someday.

    Reading this article I guess i am to believe you guys fear Paul, Duffy, Josh, Dennis & Dennis. LOL C’mon. I have never seen an easier group to work with. Just be straight up do your job don’t be a slacker. Stop sleeping, hiding and watching TV all day in the back of a box truck and looking for ways avoid work. Now I know several of you guys bust out the work but lets face it even on some of the hardest days its a good job.

    You guys that slack are lucky you have management hog tied with your Bullying Hotline and your Union. You could not make it the real world. Hell I honestly have never seen so much whining but what should one expect from a bunch of Obama loving, union serving socialists. I don’t care what you say you cant be a conservative and think that collective bargaining is a free market idea. Stand up and get rid of the union and the slackers. I encourage the hard workers of the group to continue to bust it out and make the slackers look just like they are slackers.

    I wish BP would not have boned U2 cause I would be up there firing these types of idiots and we would not have the culture of entitlement that now exists with the workers. But because of the fact that BP could not control arrogant folks like king Richard from handing out our RFP to the competition, lying and stealing a contracts we end up with them tying the hands of Acuren Management as a proactive measure. I guess they deserve a worthless unproductive union work force. I actually wish Richard was still there busting heads; its far better then a bunch of politically correct limp-wrists who want to talk things out rather than terminate the problems.

    The truth is Acuren is a really solid company. I hope you guys are able to terminate the couple bad apples that are spoiling the bunch.

    Yee & Haa
    Luke Webster

  18. Joanne Bibbins says:

    If the “Not in Disbelief” comment was to acknowledge that there are different perceptions and realities on the Slope, then I agree completely. I believe that was my point.

    I have no issues with people expressing their views and opinions—we have an abundance of them on-slope and they are as valuable and varied as the people that work here. Few of us are privy to complete and accurate information—I know I’m not. (We do, however, have an amazingly robust rumor mill) I can’t speak to the success of concerns brought to the Ombudsman’s office–nor did I try to in my comment. If retaliation exists for a legitimate concern I agree completely—such actions must be stopped.

    I simply stated that I have never seen or experienced retaliation for reporting a safety concern. My issue is that when incomplete assertions are disguised as investigative reporting they should at the very least mention that a different experience or perspective exists. This article portrayed one reality as the whole truth. Nowhere did I see a quote from an employee satisfied with how their safety concerns were addressed (there are many) or any comment from the Acuren employees who believe themselves fortunate to work here (there are many). I understand that including other views might lessen the sensationalism of the story, but wouldn’t it come closer to the real truth?

  19. Keith Dunlap says:

    There are several issues brought in this forum that I wish to comment on. First of all, Mr. Not in disbelief, I do not fault Mr Leopold for writing this article. It is his right to do so. I do fault him for only portraying one side of the story. This article comes accross more like a hatchet job than an investigative report. I have worked in the energy industry for over twenty years and I have not worked for a management team that are as commited to quality, safety, employee well being,and profesional development as the Acuren team on the North Slope. All they ask for in return is an honest days work to the best of your ability. It is unfortunate that a few individuals who have bought into the entitlement mentality that has poisioned our society think this is to much to ask.

    Secondly, Mr. Baffled, as to your being “stunned by the hostility” expressed by some of the comments on this site. Just as Mr. Leopold has a right to write his article people have a right to comment on it. That First Amendment right you mentioned does not only apply to people you agree with. Speaking of Constitutional Rights, here is one I would like to mention, the Sixth Amendment, it gives us the right to confront our accusers and aquire evidence in our defence and It to applies to all Americans, members of management included. Many of these accusations leveled against Acuren management are quite serious and the indivduals whom they are leveled against have a right to defend themselves. How can one defend his or her self if they do not know who their accusers are. This shows the major flaw in the anonymous” whistle blower” system. It violates the rights of the accused and encourages abuse by the accuser. If you have a legitimate claim have the courage to confront the person involved. If this does not work there are other avenues you can pursue. If the claim is legitamate the law is on your side. Your anyonymity makes me question the legitamacy of your claim. As for your comment “there are always actions that occur outside the realm of your front door” you are correct, but all I know for certain is my experience in working with Acuren Management which has been nothing but positive. Before I can believe these accusations I need to see proof, not hearsay from someone who lacks the courage to make his or her charges publicly.

    As for your displeasure with Mr. Schaale’s comments, while Mike’s commentary was crude and “politically incorect” I have more respect for a man who speaks his mind and has the courage to put his name behind his comments than one who hides behind the cloak of anonymity.

  20. Luke Webster says:

    @ Keith Dunlap… Agreed there is an old saying the Righteous are as Bold as Lions… The Narc Phone Line BS is the kind of snake like behavior that is destroying our country. If you have a problem stand up and make it know.

    Its real simple if there is an idiot on the bus and you cant tell who it is; its you.

    If you have a safety concern in Prudhoe Bay and feel that you cant bring it up and you can only go to some anonymous help line your most likely an idiot. Because its no secret bosses get fired up there for encouraging unsafe work.

    Work hard and take pride in what you do. If you have to work with a negative person who only wants to complain tell them to suck it up and make the best of it. Negative people are a cancer and they destroy the work environment, productivity and safety of the job. Its bad enough up there to be away from your family and friends so when your don’t let someone make it worse.

    Luke

  21. Mad as Hell says:

    If anyone should feel harassed and intimidated, it should be Mr. Lee. Despite your feelings toward BP, Prudhoe Bay, or the Office pf the Ombudsman, some of the attacks and accusations made toward Mr Lee are uncalled for. He is a good person, and very much a part of our group in Prudhoe.
    You can be mad at him because you didnt get your 16% raise, but the public flogging of the man is hardly warranted retaliation.
    At the emd of the day, I enjoy working with all of you. From the managers to the trainees. If we could stop the drama and the bickering, we might be able to all get back to being the great group that we are.

  22. Chris Thorne says:

    *****************************DISCLAIMER******************************

    The following is MY OPINION and PAST EXPERIENCES. The following is in no way meant to be the opinion of any union or Acuren Management.

    Wow. There’s a lot of good stuff here. Save for the ridiculous threats of violence. Seriously, while I can understand where it comes from, that hostility is certainly not helping your cause for posting to the thread. Not only does it not help, it is devastating to the cause of what seems to be a majority of our group which is that this is a great place and company to work for. To anyone reading this post, Acuren or not, Mr. Schaale’s comments are not representative of 99.9% of the people I know and work with.

    For the purpose of being completely transparent to those readers of this thread who are not Acuren employees I would like to give a brief explanation of my history with Acuren before venting my opinions in this thread. Those of you who know me already please feel free to skip the next paragraph.

    Hired in 2004 for an entry level position I later ran unopposed for Union Stewardship. As a Steward I would like to think that I was one that had the respect of most simply because I did not buy into the Unions b.s. AND I did not buy into the Company’s b.s. I simply gathered the facts and options and let the people I represented make the decisions.
    The union will have you to believe that a steward should be a servant to the union. I disagree, the steward should be a servant to the people they represent, not just a certain group either…all of the people.
    I digress. As I “moved up in ranks” to the field lead position, still a union member, I gave up my stewardship so as not to find myself in a situation where there could be the appearance of a conflict of interest.
    Now in a different position with Acuren I am no longer union and I am also not part of the management team. It is a very unique position to be in as at times I see both sides of the fence.

    That being said, I would say that I agree with Luke to a point. The biggest issue up here is misrepresentation. The union doesn’t have to be a problematic entity though. Most of the rumors and mis-communications come from pot stirrers and disdainful employees who thrive on bringing other people down to their level rather than rising to meet the standards of others. Just like the media, they’ll take half truths and put their spin on them to create an interesting development. Maybe these people should be investigative reporters. What do ya say Jason…any job opportunities at “truthout” or “TPR” I have a few people I would like to recommend.

    This type of behavior did not start when Dennis Lee arrived, it was here long before and it will be here long after any changes in management occur. And it is not just Acuren who employs such a person. You will find this in almost any job, anywhere.

    The arrival of Dennis Lee and departure of the previous management team was the best thing that has ever happened to this group in the many years I have been employed with Acuren. I say this not because I feel as if the previous management ever did ME wrong but because it was obvious that Dennis saw the value in investing in his employees, where as the previous management did not.

    Would I say that I agree with or like all of the decisions that Dennis and the management team make? No. Would I say that there have been decisions made that I didn’t like but can understand why the decision was made? Yes.

    Sometimes it’s a simple matter of a lack of options. You can only do what you can with what you have. I admire Dennis for his steadfast resolve in sticking it out with this group. I hope that if I someday find myself in as tough a position as I am sure he has been in over the last many months that I am able to conduct myself with as much confidence AND as much emotion as he has.
    I like to see emotion in my leaders as they speak. It lets me know that they actually have a vested interest in their words and that it’s not just lip service.

    Not in Disbelief:– I truly am glad that you posted your perspective in this thread. I’d have to say that while I am almost positive there have been clouded reports to the Ombudsman, I am just as sure that there has been some that are completely legit. It’s really a shame that reports that are ill conceived if not completely bogus have tainted those that are of serious concern.

    I would like to say to you though that I have to disagree with your last paragraph. While Schaale’s comments were definitely inappropriate, I think the only thing he demonstrated was a person who let his emotions get the better of him regarding an obvious topic of concern, and not a demonstration of how hostile it is up here if you bring up issues, not in all my years or opinion anyway.

    My two cents (Tim): You are absolutely right. There are some people scared for their jobs. And they should be. SloperAk writes “as to risk the jobs of 250 of their cow-workers” (no “w” in co by the way). Be rest assured, when and if Acuren ever loses the contract it will be because of a select few individuals if not just one person. And it won’t be because they raised a concern, it will be because of an overall lack of integrity. That’s all we have as inspectors, integrity enough to go out there and do the job we were hired to do and to report to the client the ACTUAL condition of what we inspected. However, make no mistake about it, if a hat changing ceremony takes place, those without integrity or work ethics will be at home while the rest of us try on our new hats. Unfortunately this contract being the size that it is, some lackeys will slip through the cracks, but that’s a game of Russian roulette I’m glad I won’t have to play. I’d just assume retire from Prudhoe Bay wearing the Acuren Logo on my hat, not because I want to avoid the emotional roller coaster that comes along with changing hats but because I truly believe that Acuren USA, Prudhoe Bay, Alaska is a great company to work for.

    I had an interview with Billie Garde. I don’t really know enough about her to say weather I trust her or not but I can say this. During my interview she asked me if I could choose two things to change that would fix the majority of the problems up here, what would it be? I told her this:

    It seems as if things are unraveling from both ends up here. From management’s side, if Acuren were to just stand by ALL of its policies, word for word without making exceptions, people would start to know where the line in the sand is and some people would stay as far away from it as possible while others will just stop stepping over it when they know you’re not looking. Either way people will stop testing the boundaries.

    From the technician side of things, there are a select few individuals up here that are a cancer to our workforce. As young impressionable people are hired on, these cancerous individuals flock to them to spread their blind hatred and disdain. And of course because as new folks, you just want to be accepted and fit in, you begin to reflect those that are around you. Thus generating a whole new group of cancer cells. It’s only going to get worse. So what do you do? I don’t have an answer really, but if it was my company and there was no such thing as HR, I would trim the fat so to speak.

    This place is like a dysfunctional family that you’re lucky enough to not have to be born into. But you should have to earn the right to be a part of it. Some people just don’t deserve to be in this family.

    You know who you are. Here’s a clue, if you just thought, “Is he talking about me?” It’s you.

  23. Chris Thorne says:

    Sorry for such a ridiculously long post. I didn’t realize how long it was until it was posted.

  24. Where Do We Go From Here says:

    There are quite a few opinions out there that represent both sides of the issue. We need to remember that as we go forward with this debate, both publicly, and with our coworkers, we need to do it with respect. Acuren has worked hard on its Safety and Quality programs. The production that is accomplished every year speaks for itself. It is quite amazing that the techncians continue to deliver. It is now time for the management team to deliver a HR program that the technicians can rely on. Over the last three years, Acuren has responded to the client regarding Safety and Quality issues, and has made great strides in the improvement of these programs. HR is a program that also requires attention. Acuren is now working diligently to develop this program so that the policies and guidelines are adhered to. But more importantly, this program needs to be administered consistently. I have no doubt that Acuren will rise to this latest challenge. I challenge everyone to utilize the Employee Concerns Program that Acuren now has in place. Please continue to raise concerns. The health of the organization depends on it.

  25. Am I the only one? says:

    …That finds it odd and a bit of a conflict of interest that the Employee Concerns Program’s oversight is done by Acuren’s executive legal council?

  26. Incorrect says:

    The ECP is a separate function and position from the legal council.

  27. Mad as Hell says:

    LOL. You do realize that it would be impossible to have any sort of ECP that doesnt have sort of association right? Read the book “catch 22”
    Most ECPs and HR folks Ive met are not doing pro bono work. Everyone keeps griping about the fact that there is some sort of awful affiliation., but no one seems to feel strongly enough to hire their own ECPs.
    I really think at this point, Acuren has provided free health insurance, wages ranging from $50K to $100K, bottled water, single status rooms, theyve sheltered the workforce from paycuts and layoffs, and have bent over backwards to provide avenues to raise concerns. Im guessing that, if you’re still griping you probably are more interested in the drama and not the resolution.
    Even if Acuren iffered to hire an independant lawyer fir each person that had an issue, they would still be accused of some sort of big conspiracy. Grow up.

  28. Glenn Kilpela says:

    Geez, I have moved on. But somehow I am still compelled to reply to this silly “Investigative Report” I certainly have found some humor here. I think the biggest thing is it all seems so clear to me. The cancer that afflicts Acuren could so easily be removed with a few good swift kicks in the ass. Take the bottle away, and let them realize that there comes a point in life when you have to take responsibility for yourself. Imagine how much could of been accomplished with the energy that was spent finding this joker investigative reporter. How many dollars did Acuren/BP spend on un-wittingly under mining their own foundations?

    I’ve moved on in my career, but I still have a great many friends who continue to work the slope. I understand why they continue to work for Acuren, and hope they can fullfill their expectations on the slope with Acuren. They are all hard workers, who put in a honest days work for a honest days pay. None of them piss and moan and wonder why they can’t get a raise, or move ahead. Instead they knuckle down, grind it out, push themselves, seek to further themselves in every way that they can. Its not about how much they can get away with, how little they can do, or what buttons can be pushed to get more while doing less. But rather; What can I do to move forward?

    I’ve had a bit more diverse work experience in the NDE field then most on the slope. One thing that I’ve found, there are very few companies that reward the lazy slothfull ways that can be found on the slope. And its all because of the panty waist tattletale ways that are bringing this great country to its knee’s.

    I am just one guy, but I found Acuren management to be honest, hardworking and concerned about the safety and advancement of me as an employee. I have moved on as all know, but not because I wasn’t comfortable with Acuren or BP.

    Mike you crude, callus ogre don’t ever change.

    Glenn

  29. funny says:

    There are hard workers on the slope, they do not need to tell themselves this- it is just in their nature. This is recognized and respected by their coworkers and management. This is typically how business and AMERICA works!! Work hard get ahead. Guess what. these people will and do get ahead.

    Then there are the “others”. You know, that group of slugs. What these slugs have in common is: they can not see past their own egos. They convince themselves over and over that they are the “hardest working people on the slope” although it is not recognized by anyone but themselves. Expect Acuren to hold their hand every step of their career, and have zero accountability. Then they convince themselves that the reason they do not get ahead is because it’s a “good ol boy club” it’s not you slugs!!!! you are just slugs and it is recognized by all, you may talk a good game, maybe even smile alot, think you have everyone fooled. YOU DON’T ! I am embarassed to call you my co-workers. Prudhoe Bay is suppose to be the big time, look at what we have, and you are dragging us down.

    Remeber actions speak louder than words, your words that you spew to mask your poor work ethic is recognized. Your words that you spew to hide behind Ombudsmans is recognized. Eventually your time will come as all terds float to the surface eventually.

    I know that there are not enough positions to make everyone a lead or manager right away, those positions come and go. I also know that I will continue to work hard and maintain my integrity because eventually one of those positions will be open and I would love to have EARNED my way to it.

    Still a technician – I worry more about the blackilisting and retaliation I will receive from my union stewards more than managment. So I will remain anonymous.

  30. Retaliation is Real says:

    On Fri, Sep 25,2009 at 12:18 PM, wrote:
    Jack, I thought it would be helpful to set out a few basics of this long and complicated dispute, so that our call today with
    Paul will be more productive. Since you have already heard the whole story from Paul, and also met Marty, I will skip the
    tortured history of the case and focus on the current status of the issues involving Marty, Acuren, and BPXA. I hope that
    this will clear up any confusion that may have been created during our conversation while I was at Hanford a few weeks
    ago. Looking forward to talking to you shortly.
    Marty engaged in substantial legally protected activity in 2006 – 2008 regarding the deficiencies within Acuren’s inspection
    program on the Slope. He revealed a significant quality control breakdown in everything from the company’s procedures,
    to meeting compliance requirements under various DOT and ASME code requirements, to inadequate record
    keeping regarding certifications and training requirements, to having actually unqualified inspectors in the field performing
    inspections for which they were not qualified. The issues were originally raised to Acuren, and then to BPXA, which did
    not initially or timely respond. Marty left the Slope position and continued working for Acuren in a different capacity. He
    had raised the concerns to Paul and the Office of the Ombudsman before leaving the Slope and continued to cooperate
    with our investigation. We investigated and substantiated the concerns, the concerns were serious, and although people
    try to downplay the significance of the issues, they revealed a complete breakdown in the QA/QC programs that should
    have prevented the issues from occurring.
    We reported our findings during the investigation to BPXA personnel, who originally did not take any adequate corrective
    action — essentially ignoring us. We also kept Rick Cape involved in the investigation and personally briefed him a
    number of times. We reported it as a high risk concern and recommended reporting the issues to the Board and you, in
    your capacity as GC&E. We are not sure of what level of notice was given. Marty came to DC to meet with the Judge,
    and we also brought the issues to the attention of Bob Malone. Paul had several meetings with Doug Suttles, and the
    Judge did as well, in trying to get the matter resolved — it was tough sledding.
    In the meantime, Marty became the subject of both overt and subtle retaliation by Acuren and BPXA personnel.
    Skipping the details that I trust he has shared with you, we strongly urged the parties to work on a settlement that
    preserved Marty’s financial situation for a period of years, while allowing him to build up his own training business. (BPXA
    did not want Marty back on the Slope, in any capacity. They talked to me and the Judge about trying to insert language to
    that effect in the agreement – but the Judge would not have any part of it.) It took a long time, and intervention by me and
    the Judge to get the deal done, but it ultimately was resolved. The agreement has a provision in it that requires the
    parties to give each other notice and work to try and resolve any differences, and then a Arbitration clause. The Judge
    told BPXA that he thought Acuren should have to absorb all the money that was to be paid because Acuren violated the
    terms of the contract, and there was no deal between BPXA and Marty. We don’t know if there was any back door
    arrangement between Acuren and BPXA regarding reimbursement. But we do know that neither Acuren nor BPXA have
    wanted him back on the Slope, including not allowing him to return to review the resolution of the issues that he raised.
    So, Marty was paid by Acuren and is now about half way through the original agreement providing him a retainer for
    training, whether the company uses his services or not. In the beginning the arrangement worked out okay. Marty
    provided training to Acuren personnel, built up other clients, and was paid according to the plan.
    Over the past few months there have been some problems. Those problems result from a lingering animosity toward
    Marty by Acuren’s new management team. We have opened a case involving an incident when a current Acuren
    manager is alleged to have said some pretty negative stuff about Marty’s training and Marty in general to a group of
    employees. They deny it, but in interviewing people, there is no question that there remains a high degree of hostility
    toward Marty by Acuren for “getting them in trouble.” We have communicated this to Dennis Nolan, the chief Acuren VP
    and the person responsible for the settlement implementation. He confirms that they found the same things we did, and
    that they have taken action to insure that no one speaks badly of Marty, and that there is adherence to the contract.
    While acknowledging being chastised and disciplined, the current managers still have their noses out of joint about him………..continued

  31. Retaliation is Real says:

    To: lvnch.iohn@bp.com, Carson Hodges/DC/USEPA/US@EPA
    cc: minge.john@bp.com
    Date: 11:24:29 AM Today
    Subject: Problem from Jeanne and Carson
    John and Jack: About a year ago I became aware from workers on the slope
    of a problem with a contractor named Marty Anderson. As you know its a
    place where everyone knows everyone else’s business, and gossip is
    rampant. Not surprising. We decided to sit back and watch to see how
    BP handled this—especially in the wake of HP’s demand that it wants
    employee complaint resolution to be in house, not with an outside
    entity.
    Marty worked for a BP contractor, and in the wake of the spills,
    explosion and corrosion hearings, identified problems in BP’s corrosion
    handling/mitigation program sometime in 2008. The fact that Woollam did
    a horrendously horrible job was graphically shown and known by then.
    BP’s code of conduct explicitly states that workers who bring problems
    to management’s attention will not be retaliated against. I have been
    told that ever since he brought information to BP, his employer and BP
    have tried their best to get rid of Marty and marginalize him. His
    request for help has not been resolved, and although many people in BP
    are aware of this situation, nothing has been done in TWO YEARS. The
    retaliation is now spreading to other people who supported Marty. This
    is a bitd t>ilmtliuii thai is ucuinu wuisc, cuid il has been handled
    by BP. I confirmed what I had been told was accurate with Judge
    Sporkin’s office—and the essentials I was told are correct.
    Why have neither of you gotten involved in this matter sufficiently to
    stop/curtail what is going on or resolve this? You say you want our
    trust to operate the employee complaint program, but this is a current
    and graphic example of why EPA does not trust BP to do that
    appropriately. I have also heard that the persons who retaliated
    against Marty are from the senior BP employee ranks. Again, it appears
    that BP, regardless of its code of conduct and statements to the
    government will do whatever is necessary to cover up the improper
    actions of its senior managers—which means you have a code of conduct
    you force employees to follow, and one, unwritten and unspoken code (or
    lack of a code) for senior managers who appear not to be bound by
    company policy. This promotes intimidation, retaliation, blackballing
    and unethical behavior in the management ranks, and, a culture of fear
    and a lack of ethics in the employee ranks. I would think BP would want
    to demonstrate that this kind of management will no longer be allowed.
    I am very disappointed I have to bring this up, and ask you both to get
    involved in this and fix it. I am also very disappointed in how this
    has been handled, and it sends a message to your work force that BP does
    not mean what it says, it will not enforce its policies against its
    senior staff and that workers dont matter. BP will never get better
    until it enforces its policies and the law equally against all its
    employees-from CEOs to roughnecks. I will not bring this up today in
    discuss the Adm. Agreement, but this is the reason Carson and I are
    adamant that the employee complaint function remain outside BP.
    Jeanne and Carson

    What say you Michael Schaale I have about 200 more I can send it is important that we use fact and not emotion. Maybe you will be willing to testify before congress when the time comes. Remember, everyone is an expert until congress and the regulators show up.

    Keep of the good work Jason and Abrahm

  32. BPXASrExec says:

    An open letter to those individuals who have left critical comments about this report:

    I am a senior executive at BPXA. I’d like to take this time to inform all of you that you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Not a single one of you are in the know. This news report is not only truthful and accurate, it’s as if Mr. Leopold was sitting in conference rooms when the meetings were taking place where these very cases were discussed. I’m glad all of you take pride in your work and enjoy showing up everyday. But none of you have any idea what has and is currently going on at the executive level.

    These comments have motivated me to send Mr. Leopold a ream of BPXA internal materials and e-mails about the situation with Acuren and BPXA and the OoO so he will. To say that what has been taking place behind the scenes is “bad” would be an understatement. There are wholesale HIRD AND process safety violations currently taking place that neither Acuren nor BPXA has addressed. As a senior executive, I am in a unique position to know exactly what these issues are and the danger it has caused to our operations. I’ve watched as the company I have worked for over the past 22 years has killed no less than 26 people in the past five simply to save a few bucks. No more.

    And let me add my own two cents about Billie Garde and the OoO. I’ve sat next to her as she rattled off the identities of the CI’s and have listened as she provided BPXA with legal advice on these matters, advice I might add that is beneficial to the company and not the individual(s) subject to HIRD. Billie is an ethical nightmare.

    The materials I have provided to Mr. Leopold will also set the record straight on how this office operates. The OoO has received more than $6 million over the past five years. Yet the work she and Judge Sporkin have done has been substandard to say the least during the past two years.

    A little bit of advice to the Acuren contractors: think before you speak. To quote ex Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.”

    Very soon all will be known.

  33. BPXASrExec says:

    Retaliation is Real has nailed it with precision accuracy. Other than one other commenter, this individual speaks the truth. I too have those e-mails and letters. And I no longer can remain silent about what continues to take place on the Slope.

  34. BPXASrExec says:

    One final note to those “insiders” reading the comments here.

    Take the time to read each and every one of these stories written by Mr. Leopold since April: http://www.truth-out.org/feature

    The information contained in these articles paints a true picture of what has been taking place on the Slope and beyond.

  35. Do you hear that? says:

    The silence in here is deafening…..

    In reference to those that insist we have a hostile union, it is anything but….
    The union stewards on-site have broken their backs and have sacraficed their personal lives in order to ensure that the employees are given a fair shake….and not just those in Tanks & Vessels land. For the last year, at least, they have had sleepless nights and unbelievable stress caused by the anomosity demonstrated by Acuren management and the contract negotiations that have been twisted into some kind of personal emotional game by Dennis Lee. Now the current offer is triple the original stall tactic offer…..If anything, you should thank them for their dedication. I know I have several times.

    To BPXASrExec & Retaliation is Real, thank you for pointing out that these issues are indeed a real problem and that those who walk around with blinders are definitely without a clue.

  36. Conflict of Interest says:

    Does anyone else find it odd that Acuren compliance (Safety Department) now answers to Operations?

    ********************************************************

    From: AK, OPS Acuren CIC Project Manager
    Sent: Friday, September 10, 2010 7:36 AM
    To: AK OPS Acuren CIC HSET; Everson Mark R (Acuren); Mccance, Laurelie (ACUREN); Reekie, Todd (Acuren); Reekie, Josh (ACUREN); Pease, Paul (ACUREN)
    Cc: dlee@acuren.com; Josh Rayburn; AK, OPS ACUREN CIC OPS SUPV
    Subject: Reporting/Department Structure

    Attachments: Acuren North Slope Injury Guidelines Draft1 8-8-10.docx

    All,

    I want to make sure you all are aware that the HSET department is being directed by the PM’s office. Please keep the PM informed of your daily plans and do not hesitate to ask for participation in issues concerning HSET.

    I want everyone to be perfectly clear on reporting. Our policy (attached) clearly states ALL reports of first aids, significant near misses or recordable must first be sent to this office. If Josh or I are not available, the Ops Supv shall be notified. Additionally, ANY significant event requires immediate notification of the PM. My cell # is (removed), and Josh’s is 314-(removed). Dennis Lee can be reached at 907-(removed). The PM harmony is 3151. I don’t care what time of the day it is, we need to know.

    Several of the tasks I see being neglected are: scanning of THA’s into e-files; response to the audit conducted by Christian Stumpf-everyone needs to take part in “grading” of the exams; communication with this office.

    Remember-we are one team and we need to act as one.

    Dennis McMullin / alt. Josh Rayburn
    Project Manager-Prudhoe Bay, Ak
    Acuren USA Inc.
    PO Box 340122
    Prudhoe Bay, AK 99734
    direct: 907-659-5680
    fax: 907-659-8007
    http://www.acuren.com

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