Workers aren’t supposed to “bite the hand that feeds them” but what happens when the bosses take more and more for themselves?
It started with a conversation here and a story there: an oilfield worker let go and tired of the unpredictability, a refinery worker who knew the company was skirting safety and environmental regulations, a young engineer hoping to break into offshore wind, and so on.
When you read a newspaper article or turn on a news program, it’s a slick industry P.R. rep speaking on behalf of the workers, but never the workers themselves. In government meetings on the future of American energy production, it’s executives making sure they will get a cut of the pie, but no one making sure that there will be good jobs in the bargain.
True Transition began out of a simple premise: workers deserve a voice and a seat at the table.
Megan Milliken Biven
Megan Milliken Biven is a Louisianan. She used to plan offshore oil and gas lease sales for the United States federal government. She began her federal career as a Presidential Management Fellow for the then Marine Minerals Service, and now Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the week of the Deepwater Horizon disaster.
Married to an engineer formerly employed in the offshore oil and gas industry, Biven’s family has first hand experience of what happens when it's a boom for the bosses but a bust for the workers.
Leo Lindner grew up “down the bayou” in Lafourche Parish. After High School and then a less than stellar freshman year at Nicholls State University, he went to work for Zapata Gulf as a deckhand on tug boats pulling anchors for pipe laying-barges in the Gulf of Mexico. After a year of working the boats, he found the inspiration to return to college, paying his way by waiting tables, eventually earning an MA from USL (now ULL), and going back to teach English Composition at NSU.
After three years of receiving pay that reflected the actual value Louisiana politicians placed on education, he took a job in the oilfield as a “mud engineer” ensuring that his three daughters would not become too familiar with the taste of baloney.
Leo worked in the oilfield for 10 years, 5 of which on the Deepwater Horizon, until the night of the Macondo blowout on 4/20/2010. He now writes and is fortunate enough to spend his days with his graceful wife, Sue.
Michael organizes with communities in Louisiana’s traditional industrial corridor, which stretches along the Mississippi River from East Baton Rouge down to Plaquemines Parish. Having worked as a labor and community organizer for almost a decade, she now focuses on climate issues and a “just transition” to a clean, regenerative economy that benefits all working people as we move away from a reliance on fossil fuels. When not working she enjoys drawing, fishing, gardening and exploring Louisiana’s culture and history.
Ted Boettner is a Senior Researcher with the Ohio River Valley Research Institute
Ted focuses on economic development. Prior to joining ORVI, Ted was co-founding executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy where he authored dozens of publications on economic and energy issues and worked closely with policymakers and stakeholders to raise wages and benefits for thousands of people.
Ted also helped launch the Multi-State Shale Research Collaborative, was primary member to the U.S. Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, an advisory committee within the U.S. Department of Interior, and was named “one of the most influential business leaders” in West Virginia by The State Journal (WV).
When he’s not being a policy wonk, Ted enjoys a nice whitewater paddle in West Virginia, running marathons, hiking at Dolly Sods, some political theory, and cooking for friends.