USW, Shell Wrestle Over Labor Contract - Tire Review Magazine

USW, Shell Wrestle Over Labor Contract

usw logoUnited Steelworkers Union leaders were “shocked” by Royal Dutch Shell Plc.’s resistance to negotiate new labor contacts, causing 3,800 refinery workers to stage walk outs on Feb. 1 at nine oil refineries across the U.S., according to Reuters.

Shell suspended talks with union leaders on Feb. 1 after making five offers that were all rejected by the union, according to the report. Union officials told Reuters that Shell said it would be too hard to meet the union’s demands for a new three-year contract to lift pay and tighten safety practices.

The Reuters report stated that the union is seeking annual pay raises of 6%, double the size of those in the last agreement. It also wants work that has been given in the past to non-union contractors to start going to USW members, a tighter policy to prevent workplace fatigue, and reductions in members’ out-of-pocket payments for healthcare.

In negotiations past, Shell has been seen by the union as the “most flexible of the big oil companies,” according to Reuters. At the same time, oil industry executives told media “they were surprised at how tough going the talks were” and that “representatives from the national union appeared to be taking a harder line than local union leaders.”

“We were very, very shocked,” USW International President Leo Gerard told the news outlet.

According to reports, Shell resumed contact with the union on Feb. 2. USW told Reuters that no meetings have been scheduled for new contract negotiations as of Feb. 3.

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