Malone to Alyeska employees: Get on board or quit|
September 22, 1999
Tony Bickert, Valdez Vanguard
'There is a level of discrimination going on across this company,
documented, that I never would have thought existed.' - Bob Malone
Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. President Bob Malone has issued an ultimatum
to the 2,100 people who run the trans-Alaska oil pipeline system: Maintain
an open work environment or quit.
Malone has been giving speeches, containing the ultimatum, to all
employees and contractors in reaction to a consultant firm's review of
Alyeska's work environment, quality program and operational integrity.
Malone is scheduled to speak to some-650 employees and contractors in
The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the Prince William
Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council are applauding the tough talk by
Malone, who has also begun to shuffle upper management systems in reaction
to the review.
On Tuesday Malone was in Washington, D.C., to discuss the review with
members of Congress and the Department of the Interior said Alyeska
spokeswoman Tracy Green.
The 60-day review, released today, was conducted by Little Harbor
Consultants, hired by Malone in response to annonymous allegations made in
July to Congress and the DOI by six former employees through whistleblower
advocate Chuck Hamel. The "Group of Six" claim harassment, intimidation and
retaliation by low- and high-level management against employees who raise
environmental and safety concerns continues to exist system-wide, which
constitutes an imminent threat to pipeline system integrity.
Similar claims were made by whistleblowers to Congress via Hamel in 1993,
resulting in several-hundred million dollars in corrective action by
Alyeska, which also committed to improve its admittedly bad corporate
Little Harbor, which interviewed several dozen pipeline workers, concluded
that no imminent threat to the system exists, and that Alyeska has
partially kept its 1993 promise to Congress to improve quality, integrity
and the work environment.
However, the executive summary of the review goes on to state: "Even with
all these efforts, there continue to be examples of unacceptable behaviors
that do not conform to the expectations for an open work environment."
Malone said he's angry that some company employees and contractors refuse
"You look (at the review) and you will find we have intimidated, harassed
and discriminated against people," he said in a speech to Fairbanks area
employees Thursday. "And not just in '93, but in '94, '95, '96, '97 and '98."
He expressed strong concern about his discovery that discrimination exists
in the company.
"There is a level of discrimination going on across this company,
documented, that I never would have thought existed," Malone said,
"...against people of color, people of diverse background, women and Alaska
Native people. And these people are beginning to raise their hands and say,
Malone reminded the workers that he ordered an open work environment when
he became president in 1996. "When a decision is made it is not your
prerogative to say I may or may not do this," he said. "But that's what's
happening. We have people in this company - contractors and employees - who
are thumbing their noses at us. And to those who thumb their noses I want
this heard: I don't want you in this company."
Among changes planned at Alyeska, some of which are underway, include:
o Combine Quality Assurances and Inspection Services teams in Fairbanks
and Valdez under one manager, who reports directly to Malone.
o Offer additional training to supervisors and managers to help create an
open work environment for their employees.
o Take steps to implement a more effective action tracking system to
provide a current status of commitments.
Dan Lawn of the DEC and the RCAC's Stan Stephens, both Valdez residents,
long-time Alyeska watchdogs and historically among the most vocal critics
of the company, said Tuesday they are impressed with Malone's new plans for
"Bob Malone is the best hope Alyeska has ever had to change the mind set
and lead the company forward in a way that improves the corporate culture,"
said Lawn in a written statement. (It appears in full on page 4.)
"I feel that we finally have somebody who is trying to do the right
thing," Stephens said. "He has taken an extremely strong stance. If he made
any mistake he waited too long. Bob is too nice of a guy and he's been let
down by some people who work for him. He kept waiting for the change. But I
think now what's happening is he's saying change or get out."
Hamel, who resides in Alexandria, Va., said Tuesday he had not yet read
the Little Harbor review. He said he planned to meet with Malone today.
Malone 'walks the talk'
Bob Malone is the best hope Alyeska has ever had to change the mindset and
lead the company forward in a way that improves the corporate culture,
opens the work environment, and fixes the many operational and maintenance
problems which sometimes is referred to as the "Alyeska Talk."
Mr. Malone has openly admitted Alyeska hs failed to fully implement the
promises of the past and commitments made to Congress in 1993. He has
demonstrated his commitment to change by hiring Little Harbor Consultants
(LHC) to investigate the current allegations, help identify the remaining
work to be done and develop the corrective actions necessary to accomplish
The LHC investigation, which is very thorough, is being applauded by many
Alyeska employees who have been trying to follow the "Alyeska Talk"
requirements but have been prevented from succeeding by the remaining
roadblocks that have been constructed by some Alyeska employees who are not
yet following Malone's lead.
Mr. Malone has demonstrated his and Alyeska's openness by publicizing the
Hamel Allegations, Alyeska's initial response, and the LHC in-depth
investigation follow-up, which is embodied in "A Report on the Trans-Alaska
Pipeline System: Work Environment, Quailty Program and Operational
Integrity," dated Sept. 20, 1999. This report is the most critical internal
review of Alyeska's current status that I have ever seen. Mr. Malone must
The leadership that is being demonstrated is setting an example for all
Alyeska and contractor employees to follow.
The management changes that are currently underway as well as Mr. Malone's
demand that the Alyeska employees and contractors follow the Alyeska Code
of Conduct, the Alyeska Quality Plan, and eliminate all Harassment,
Intimidation, Retaliation and Discrimination (HIRD) is "Walking the Talk"
and is being applauded by the Alyeska employees that are trying to do
Malone has effectively re-communicated his expectations that all Alyeska
and contractor employees adopt this attitude and way of doing business or
they will be required to leave Alyeska.
This path will also help ensure compliance with state law and regulations.
I for one stand ready to help Mr. Malone succeed.
Dan Lawn is an environmental engineer for the State of Alaska Department
of Environmental Conservation who is stationed at the Valdez Marine Terminal.
Alyeska-- Alyeska Pipeline Company
DEC-- The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation
Trans-Alaskan-- The Trans-Alaskan Pipeline Website
Alaska Forum-- The Alaska Forum for Environmental Responsibilty