Oil Locals to Vote on Ratification by October 27, 2008
Lynne Baker, USW Communications, (o) 615-831-6782, (cell) 615-828-6169
Pittsburgh—Over 300 United Steelworkers (USW) union delegates at the National Oil Bargaining conference here overwhelmingly approved the National Oil Bargaining policy committee’s proposals for 2009 bargaining.
“Provisions in the National Oil Bargaining policy ensure that our oil facilities and communities will be safer and that oil workers will be able to take care of their families,” said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads the National Oil Bargaining program. “Our proposals will have a positive economic impact on the community.”
The proposals focus on wages, benefits, working conditions and contract language. Details of the proposals will not be released to the public until after local unions in the National Oil Bargaining program have ratified the National Oil Bargaining policy and granted strike authorization by Oct. 27, 2008.
“This policy was developed by the rank-and-file leaders of our oil sector to reflect the needs of the workers who labor for some of the richest corporations in the world and to reflect the needs of the communities in which they live and work,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.
“Beyond the economic issues covered in the policy, we have proposed comprehensive health, safety and environment language that would protect our workers, the community at large and the environment,” said National Oil Bargaining policy committee member Don Houtchens, who is president of USW Local Union 12-590 at the ConocoPhillips refinery in Ferndale, Wash.
Jim Savage, a member of USW Local Union 10-1 at the Sunoco refinery in Philadelphia, Pa., is also a member of the National Oil Bargaining policy committee. He said the health, safety and environment proposal is “the most comprehensive health and safety language we’ve ever had” in the history of oil bargaining.
The USW represents workers at facilities that cover a majority of total oil refining capacity in the U.S. The National Oil Bargaining pattern agreement covers 30,000 workers who are in the production, refining, marketing, transportation and pipeline sectors of the oil industry.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has over 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Aruba. It represents workers in a diverse range of industries and in the service sector. For more information on oil bargaining and its history, go to www.oilbargaining.org