Steelworkers on Strike at Nine Refineries

The union represents workers at 65 U.S. refineries that produce about 64 percent of the nation's oil.

The United Steelworkers Union announced Feb. 1 that it began a work stoppage at 12:01 a.m. at nine U.S. refineries after national oil bargaining talks broke down. These are the refineries affected:

  • LyondellBasell in Houston
  • Marathon Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas
  • Marathon Houston Green Cogeneration facility, Texas City
  • Marathon Refinery, Catlettsburg, Ky.
  • Shell Deer Park Refinery, Deer Park, Texas
  • Shell Deer Park Chemical Plant, Deer Park
  • Tesoro Anacortes Refinery, Anacortes, Wash.
  • Tesoro Martinez Refinery, Martinez, Calif.
  • Tesoro Carson Refinery, Carson, Calif.

"Shell refused to provide us with a counter-offer and left the bargaining table," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "We had no choice but to give notice of a work stoppage."

The union represents workers at 65 U.S. refineries that produce about 64 percent of the nation's oil, among more than 230 U.S. refineries, oil terminals, pipelines, and petrochemical facilities nationwide. The union 's release said the remaining USW-represented refineries and oil facilities "are operating under a rolling 24-hour contract extension."

"We told Shell [Oil Company] that we were willing to continue bargaining for a fair agreement that would benefit the workers and the industry, but they just refused to return to the table," said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads the union's National Oil Bargaining Program. "This work stoppage is about onerous overtime; unsafe staffing levels; dangerous conditions the industry continues to ignore; the daily occurrences of fires, emissions, leaks, and explosions that threaten local communities without the industry doing much about it; the industry's refusal to make opportunities for workers in the trade crafts; the flagrant contracting out that impacts health and safety on the job; and the erosion of our workplace, where qualified and experienced union workers are replaced by contractors when they leave or retire."

The union rejected Shell's last offer, the fifth offer to the union. Shell is the lead company for the National Oil Bargaining talks. The union is the largest private-sector union in North America, representing 850,000 workers employed in metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, energy, chemicals, transportation, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments.

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