Senate Takes On Oil Jobs
Thursday, the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard testimony on the number of non-resident workers at North Slop oil fields, a number some senators called “hard to believe.”
Thursday, members of the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee heard testimony on the number of non-resident workers at North Slop oil fields.
Some senators called the figures “hard to believe.” Even with near-record numbers of North Slope employees, an estimated 14,000 newly created jobs have gone to workers from outside Alaska.
Major North Slope producers reported nearly 90 percent of jobs went to Alaska residents.
Claire Fitzpatrick, chief financial officer for BP Alaska, said her company makes it a priority to hire Alaskans.
“We will always hire the best candidate for the job, but our preference is to hire qualified Alaskans,” Fitzpatrick said. “We believe we have a record that backs that up.”
But contractors and subcontractors describe a different situation: some companies reported no Alaskans at all on their payroll.
Approximately 3,000 current North Slope workers are non-residents, and Sen. Joe Paskvan said he doesn’t believe it’s for lack of qualified Alaskans.
“That’s ultimately, I think, why we’re here,” said the Fairbanks Democrat. “We have 3,000 jobs that aren’t going to feed Alaskan families, aren’t going to pay Alaskan mortgages, that are flying over our heads and out of this state.”
The discussion on oil field jobs and tax issues is expected to continue into the next legislative session.