The United Steelworkers Union called strikes Sunday morning at nine refineries, including the March Point Tesoro refinery. Sunday afternoon Tesoro said, “Operations continue here at our Anacortes refinery and we expect to fully transition to non-USW workers within the next 24-48 hours.”
Matt Gill, External Affairs Senior Manager at Tesoro, added, “We are extremely disappointed to have received these strike notifications at our refineries. Our comprehensive contingency planning has prepared us to safely operate our facilities.“
“We will continue supply the market and fulfill our customer commitments,” Gill said.
The nine refineries struck include three operated by Tesoro, two operated by Shell, though not the March Point refinery, and refineries operated by Marathon and LyondellBassell.
“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 said 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 over 230 refineries, oil terminals, pipelines and petrochemical facilities in the U.S.
“We told Shell 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,” Beevers added.
The expiring three-year national contract covers about 30,000 hourly workers at plants that together account for two-thirds of U.S. refining capacity.