Union demands that oil industry address safety concerns in contract talks
For More Information, Contact Jeff Clark, USW Local 5, at 925-890-7967
SAN RAMON—Members and supporters of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5 plan to rally at Chevron Corporation’s global headquarters in San Ramon, California at noon on Friday, January 20. USW Local 5 will be demanding that Chevron and the other oil companies address serious health and safety proposals at the bargaining table in the ongoing round of contract negotiations.
Union workers say the oil sector’s safety record is unacceptable. “Over the past three years we’ve seen 18 refinery workers die on the job. Process safety in this sector is out of control and we’re demanding that this industry start taking refinery safety and community safety more seriously,” said Jeff Clark, the Secretary-Treasurer of USW Local 5.
Workers say that refinery safety is also a community concern. BK White, Unit Chair at the Chevron refinery in Richmond, said: “When these companies operate our refineries unsafely, everybody’s at risk—refinery workers and our communities. We know that a serious explosion at one of these facilities could devastate an entire community.”
The United Steelworkers represent more than 30,000 workers in the oil sector. Most labor agreements are set to expire at the end of January. Across the country, health and safety is a major issue on the bargaining table. In 2009 the Steelworkers proposed significant changes to health and safety language at the bargaining table but the industry rebuffed the demands. Since that time, 18 refinery workers have died on the job.
The Steelworkers say that refusal to address health and safety demands in this round of bargaining could lead to a strike. “When we go to the bargaining table with the industry we’re going to have real changes on health and safety language or we’re not going to work,” says Gary Beevers, the Steelworkers’ International Vice President for Oil Bargaining.
USW Local 5 is based in Martinez and represents more than 1,500 oil refinery workers in the Bay Area including the Chevron Refinery in Richmond, the Shell Refinery in Martinez and the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery.
WHERE: Chevron Headquarters, 6001 Bollinger Canyon Rd., San Ramon, CA
WHEN: Friday, January 20
Rally starts at 12 noon
Photo and Interview Opportunities Available.
For more information on the Steelworkers National Oil Bargaining Program visit www.oilbargaining.org