Updated 10/03/12 – 5:46 p.m.

WHITING, Ind. (CBS) — Union workers at the BP plant in Whiting, Ind., said Wednesday that the company has taken away something that’s been a beloved tradition for decades: the morning coffee break.

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“It’s unbelievable. It’s unconscionable, to be honest with you,” said Ken Young, a union electrician with IBEW Local 697.

He said about 15,000 people are basically building a refinery within a refinery at BP in Whiting, and starting this past Monday, Young said BP took away a 15-minute coffee break.

Young acknowledged a coffee break is a small thing, but he said it’s important for safety.

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“There are 60-year-old guys out here working. They’re climbing ladders and they’ve got high blood pressure and other issues. And without putting a little more fuel back into the tank, the blood pressure stays elevated. Things can start going wrong,” he said.

Young said it’s not as if BP is saving money on the coffee and doughnuts. Workers were bringing everything themselves, he said, and for him it was hummus since he’s had cardiac issues.

Even though the mid-morning 15-minute coffee break is gone, a BP statement says the company has added 15 minutes to the lunch break.

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LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Steve Miller reports