Blog | Workplace Health and Safety

USW Oil Workers Strike After Shell Leaves Talks

Some 3,800 members of the United Steelworkers (USW) are on strike at nine refineries operated by Shell, Marathon, Tesoro and LyondellBasell after Shell, the lead company in the National Oil Bargaining talks, “refused to provide us with a counteroffer and left the bargaining table,” said USW President Leo W. Gerard.

The strike at the nine facilities began Monday, and the remaining USW-represented refineries and oil facilities are operating under a rolling 24-hour contract extension. The USW represents 65 U.S. refineries and more than 230 refineries, oil terminals, pipelines and petrochemical facilities in the United States.

USW Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads the union’s National Oil Bargaining program, said:

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.

National negotiations focus on establishing a pattern on wages, benefits and working conditions. Local union and unit negotiations focus on local issues at the particular facility.

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