California, 19 Rabiul Akhir 1436/9 February 2015 (MINA) – United States (US) refinery workers are expanding their strike over unfair labor practices by major oil companies, the United Steelworkers Union says.
The strike began on Feb. 1 with 4,000 workers leaving their jobs in California, Kentucky, Texas and Washington after USW announced Royal Dutch Shell, which led negotiations on behalf of US refinery operators, had walked away from the talks which started on Jan. 21.
The strike is expanding to two more plants including BP Plc’s Whiting, Indiana, refinery and the company’s joint-venture refinery with Husky Energy in Toledo, Ohio, the union stated Saturday in a statement.
The walk-outs scheduled to be held after 12 a.m. local time on Sunday would bring another 1,440 workers leaving their jobs in the two states. Press TV reported as quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).
The strike, in total, will cover nine refineries, which account for 13 percent of US refining capacity, the statement read.
“Management cannot continue to resist allowing workers a stronger voice on issues that could very well make the difference between life and death for too many of them,” said USW International President Leo Gerard, according to the statement.
US refinery owners have not only not discussed health and safety issues but engaged in “bad-faith bargaining, including the refusal to bargain over mandatory subjects; undue delays in providing information; impeded bargaining; and threats issued to workers if they joined the strike,” it said.
A spokesperson for Shell has said the company was oblivious to any unfair labor practice charges lodged against it with the US Department of Labor.
Oil companies will continue to operate, although one of the plants will hire temporary replacement workers. According to BP, the replacement workers would continue to conduct operations at the Whiting and Toledo refineries. (T/P011/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)