March 10, 2018, UPDATE
It appears that the United Steelworkers union is taking BP to court arguing that the oil giant violated an agreement with the union when it outsourced work to a Prudhoe Bay contractor in 2016. For those interested in following this development, the union's grievance report and the lawsuit (Complaint to Compel Arbitration) are public records.
Original Post ...
In an effort to trim costs at a time of low oil prices, BP (formerly British Petroleum) has decided to switch contractors.
BP contractor, the New Jersey-based Mistras Group and their subsidiary Quality Services Laboratories which provides integrity inspections of oilfield equipment and pipelines will be laying off 261 employees, including 182 unionized workers, and leaving Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.
The BP contract will be assumed by Anchorage-based Kakivik Asset Management with is owned by Bristol Bay Native Corporation. Another company, CCI Industrial Services, also owned by the Bristol Bay Native Corporation will engage in the detection of corrosion under insulation in pipelines.
Bristol Bay Native Corporation, or BBNC, is one of thirteen Alaska Native Regional Corporations created under the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act of 1971 in settlement of aboriginal land claims. While it is a for-profit company, its shares are held by Native Americans and cannot be legally sold. Like Native American tribes, the corporation may not be subject to restrictions, rules, and regulations followed by domestic American corporations and may receive additional benefits and incentives.
This is not the first time that BP has attempted to reduce their operational costs by switching from unionized contractors to contractors with union employees. In hostile and dangerous environments, pay rates are competitive to retain workers and most unions contracts appear to be one-way deals benefiting the unions themselves.