Refineries and chemical plants across the U.S. shut down as last minute union talks broke down. With no compromise in sight, the country’s energy giants and its workers may be facing a long battle ahead. CCTV America’s Ginger Vaughn reported this story from Houston, Texas.
Refinery strike threatens to disrupt US fuel outputRefineries and chemical plants across the U.S. shut down as last minute union talks broke down. With no compromise in sight, the country's energy giants and its workers may be facing a long battle ahead. CCTV America's Ginger Vaughn reported this story from Houston, Texas.
A fair contract — that’s what the United Steel Workers union said it wants as it continues a third day of strikes at U.S. refineries and chemical plants after talks with oil companies fell through on Sunday.
“We hope to achieve a fair contract out of this and a settlement of our contract so that we can all go back to work,” Gene Oliver, union chapter president at LyondellBasell, a muti-national chemical company, said.
The union has rejected multiple offers made by Royal Dutch Shell on behalf of firms, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, since negotiations began on Jan. 21.
The United Steel Workers union represents about 30,000 workers at refineries, pipelines, chemical plants, and oil terminals nationwide, including 5,000 here in the Houston area.
This strike on Tuesday, in front of the office of LyondellBasell was timed to coincide with the firm’s fourth quarter profits results. Union officials said it’s the first time refinery workers have picketed a corporate office.
Union worker Justin Webb said the strike has been tough on everyone.
The strikes took place at nine sites and account for ten percent of the country’s refining capacity. Tesoro, a California refinery, has shutdown half of its plant which produces 166,000 barrels of crude per day, according to Bloomberg.
“We are extremely disappointed by USW local bargaining units’ decision to strike. We have bargained in good faith and we’re prepared to continue to do so,” the company said in a statement.
The last nationwide refinery strike was in 1980 and lasted about three months. A full walkout of USW workers could threaten to disrupt as much as 64 percent of U.S. fuel output.