Kim Nibarger will be the new chair of the United Steelworkers (USW) International union's oil sector and head the oil bargaining nationwide. Nibarger replaces former oil bargaining chair, USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who retired Dec. 1.
Nibarger worked for 17 years in refinery operations. He was a chief operator for Shell Oil Products at its Puget Sound refinery in Anacortes, Washington, before taking a leave of absence in 2004 to work as a safety program coordinator for the former PACE union, which merged into the USW in 2005.
He served as a member and co-chair of the Joint Health and Safety Committee at the Anacortes refinery for eight years. During that time, he was the union's lead investigator on a team that probed the November 1998 explosion and fire that killed six refinery workers. Nibarger also was the USW's lead investigator into the 2005 explosion and fire at BP's Texas City, Texas, refinery that killed 15 workers and injured over 180 others.
Nibarger also was the coordinator of the union's Triangle of Prevention (TOP) safety program, and analyzed the root causes of more than 50 serious petrochemical accidents nationwide. In that role, he trained more than 250 union accident investigators.
The USW represents approximately 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, energy, chemicals, transportation, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments.