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USW Oil Workers Expand Strike, Cite Safety Concerns

Photo via USW Facebook page

Oil workers at three more refineries and a chemical plant joined the United Steelworkers’ (USW’s) unfair labor practice strike against the oil industry over the weekend. With workers and plant safety a major concern, USW President Leo W. Gerard said:

The industry’s refusal to meaningfully address safety issues through good faith bargaining gave us no other option but to expand our work stoppage.

Some 1,350 workers are employed at the four facilities, bringing the number of striking workers to about 6,550 at 14 and the chemical plant.

The new strike sites are the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Port Arthur, Texas—a 50-50 joint venture between Shell Oil Co. (American subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell) and Saudi Refining Inc. (subsidiary of Saudi Aramco)—Motiva’s two Louisiana refineries in Convent and Norco, as well as the Shell chemical plant in Norco.

The union is bargaining for new labor agreements to cover some 30,000 workers throughout the oil industry at 65 refineries and hundreds of pipelines, terminals, petrochemical plants and other facilities.

USW Vice President Thomas Conway says:

We’re committed to reaching a settlement that works for both parties. But adequate staffing levels, worker fatigue and other important safety issues must be addressed.

The issue of refinery safety was reinforced last week with an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance, Calif., earlier this week that injured four workers and shook homes for miles around

Click here to sign a petition to oil industry management and federal, state and local officials supporting the striking workers in their efforts to secure a fair contract that will protect the health and safety of workers and communities.

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