Refinery Workers Strike for Second Day at 9 Plants

CARSON, Calif. (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

About 3,800 workers struck for the second day Monday at nine U.S. refineries following the breakdown of contract negotiations between the United Steelworkers union and Shell Oil Co.

The job action, which began Sunday, is the largest strike of refinery workers since 1980, union officials said. The USW called for the strike after Shell management did not meet its demands regarding safety and health-insurance issues.

“Shell refused to provide us with a counteroffer and left the bargaining table,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in a news release. “We had no choice but to give notice of a work stoppage.”

A Shell representative told The Associated Press that the company remains “committed to resolving our differences with USW at the negotiating table to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.”

The affected refineries include two in California, five in Texas and one each in Kentucky and Washington.

USW spokeswoman Lynne Hancock said the union wants a three-year contract and is prepared to broaden the strike to other refineries if the impasse continues. She said no new talks have been scheduled.

United Steelworkers represents about 30,000 workers at refineries, terminals, petrochemical plants and pipelines across the country. Shell is serving as the lead company in national oil bargaining talks with the union.