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Tesoro Hawaii begins layoffs as sale talks continue

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 2:54 p.m. HST, Jun 3, 2013

Tesoro Hawaii sent  layoff notices to a "handful" of employees today as it continued talks with prospective buyers to sell its Kapolei refinery, said spokesman Lance Tanaka.

"A small group received notices today," said Tanaka. Some of the employees who received notices will be laid off on June 17 and others on June 21, Tanaka said.

Tanaka added that the company remained in discussion with interested parties to sell the refinery that once employed 240. If a buyer is found, some of the workers may continue with the new owner, Tanaka said.

Tesoro Hawaii filed a notice with the state on May 10 saying the company plans to lay off 165 workers in three phases starting June 14 at its Kapolei refinery if the company can't find a buyer for the facility. Tanaka said the employees notified today were the initial group. A second group will be laid off starting June 28 and a third group starting July 12, according to Tesoro's May 10 notice.

Tesoro initially informed the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations in February that it planned to close the refinery and begin laying off workers on May 1. But when that day arrived, Tesoro officials announced that they were postponing the layoffs while pursuing negotiations with a potential buyer or buyers that would continue operations at the state's largest oil refinery.

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