Fossil Fuel Layoff

Virginia Parks participates in UC Berkeley Labor Center event
Wed, 06/14/2023 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm

On Oct. 30, 2020, the Marathon oil refinery in Contra Costa County, California, was permanently shut down and 345 unionized workers laid off. The Marathon refinery’s closure sheds light on the employment and economic impacts of climate change policies and a shrinking fossil fuel industry on fossil fuel workers in the region and more broadly. UC Berkeley Labor Center's Fossil Fuel Layoff report, which focuses on these workers’ post-layoff job search, employment status, wages, and financial security, provides a first-of-its-kind case study of the perils and needs of workers in the state’s changing energy landscape.

During the webinar "Fossil fuel layoff: The economic and employment effects of a refinery closure on workers in the Bay Area," lessons from the report on how to support workers and communities as we transition away from fossil fuels into a greener economy will be discussed.


  • Virginia Parks, report co-author, professor in the Department of Urban Planning and Public Policy at the University of California, Irvine, and faculty director of the UCI Labor Center.
  • Tracy Scott, president of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5, which represented workers laid off at the facility.
  • Josh Sonnenfeld, California Economic Development Specialist, BlueGreen Alliance 


  • Jessie Hammerling, co-director of the Green Economy Program at the UC Berkeley Labor Center