In early February, oil workers and members of the United Steelworkers union (USW) kicked off what has become the largest strike since 1980. While the strike was initiated here in Houston, union members across the country – including at plants and refineries in California, Kentucky, and Washington – have also gone on strike. As of today – Friday, March 13 – a tentatively agreed upon deal may signal the coming end of the strike.
As part of the strike, thousands of workers left their jobs in the Houston Ship Channel, the largest petrochemical complex in the world. Three of the refineries impacted by the strike – Shell Oil, LyondellBasell, and Marathon – produce roughly 700,000 barrels of oil collectively each day.
Here are some quick facts about the strike and the tentatively accepted deal:
- In total, 15 refineries and chemical plants nationwide have been affected by the six-week-long strike.
- USW union represents close to a million workers at refineries and chemical plants, including men and women employed in mining, pulp/paper, metals, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and energy industries.
- Workers have cited a number of grievances, including the on call system, attendance program, and general discontent with a considerable amount of overtime and fatigue.
- Union members have called for fair contracts that improve safety throughout the industry. Well-rested workers, they say, pose fewer risks of fires, leaks, and explosions that can threaten employees and nearby communities.
According to officials, USW has tentatively accepted a four-year deal with Shell Oil which addresses worker concerns. The new agreement focuses on safety concerns, joint reviews for staffing needs, recruitment and training programs, and annual pay raises, among other issues. The deal still needs to be approved by union representatives before being voted on by union members nationwide.
Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs supports workers in their fight for workplace rights and fair pay. If you have questions about wage and hour claims, workplace injuries, or other on-the-job issues, contact us today for a free consultation.