The Oil Worker, Issue 30

 

From the Chair
Welcome to Our National Oil Bargaining Conference, July 12 -13

At the National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) conference in Pittsburgh July 12-13 we are discussing any issues you are having with management in implementing our 2015 National Oil Bargaining Program. During registration please visit the tables for beneficial information on resources available to you and your local.

Current Activities
I continue to attend council and district meetings to address any Local’s issues. I have met with oil servicing staff during the district training at Linden Hall to discuss the 2015 letter agreements. These were productive meetings, especially since the smaller size lent itself for better question-and-answer periods.

I recently attended a conference in the UK entitled, “Wells to Wheels,” where the focus was the current status of the oil sector from start (production) to finish (delivery). In addition to discussions about the worldwide state of the oil industry, there was a workshop on the HUB program.  You can read about it on page two. We are exploring ways to incorporate aspects of it in the U.S.

There will be a second Shell global meeting to gather ideas and develop an action plan that is in line with the strategic goals of the IndustriALL Global Union and the changing landscape of the oil sector and Shell Oil Co.

350.org
The environmental group 350.org targeted some USW refineries in May as part of an international action titled, “Break Free from Fossil Fuels,” that is in line with the “Keep It in the Ground” campaign.

We had numerous conversations with the group prior to the actions to let them know we opposed these events and this strategy. We also wanted to gain some assurance of our members’ safety in light of the number of people who had pledged acts of civil disobedience to stop the flow of oil into and out of the refineries targeted in Washington State. Fortunately, there were no actions taken that affected our members’ safety, and the turnout was substantially less than predicted.

We have a long history of environmentally conscious actions as evidenced by our support of the Clean Air Act, right-to-know legislation, action on climate change that will help the planet without hurting the economy, and our

We are taking steps to formulate a plan around a high road path to cleaner fuels with the Sierra Club and other partners. We will have more on this as it develops. It is worth noting that the Sierra Club did not participate with the 350.org event because there was no coordination with labor on the proposed environmental actions.  We applaud the Sierra Club for maintaining its commitment to work with labor for equitable solutions.

Council Expansion
We are forming a new council for PBF Energy as they expand, and we’re also breaking down the multi-council into what is hopefully a more manageable size. Lubes, waxes and coating will be a single council as will HollyFrontier and CHS, Inc. This will leave approximately 14 of the former oil refineries in the multi-council.

We are trying to improve participation in the pipeline, terminals and drivers council, and want to address concerns specific to those groups.  A list of councils and coordinators is included in this issue.  

Benefit Changes
As we continued to work with Shell on retiree medical insurance, we received notice that Chevron proposed changes to its benefit plans. We are reviewing the proposal during the Chevron council meeting and look forward to reaching a workable agreement with Chevron.

As noted by these last two actions, companies proposed benefit changes just a little over a year into our new pattern contract. Most likely these proposals stem from concern over continued low crude prices. But the low crude prices have helped the crack spreads and refining has been making money even if the industry overall has seen lower earnings.

Prepare Now for 2019

As I stated in my council interactions, start putting your money away today. We have three years to save before the contract expires and if the companies come at us with takeaways, we need to be prepared to stand up for what is important to us.

Kim Nibarger
Chair
National Oil Bargaining Program
knibarger@usw.org

The industrial hubs program – What’s in it for workers?

By Paula Hamilton, International Transport Workers Federation
 
The aim of the industrial hubs program that the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and IndustriALL launched in 2015 is to increase the capacity of unions to exert influence across national and international supply chains through transport hubs.  What does it mean for oil workers in the US?  Read on to find out.
 
Who are the ITF and IndustriALL?
ITF and IndustriALL are global union federations. National unions affiliate with them depending on the sector. The USW is affiliated with the ITF, which represents transport workers, and to IndustriALL, which represents workers in mining, energy and manufacturing.  

Unite in the UK and the USW endorsed the hub program under the banner of Workers Uniting, and both unions are exchanging ideas across organizations like BP, Ineos and Philips 66.
 
What is the industrial hubs program?
The industrial hubs program aims to unite workers across sectors so they can take collective action and support each other, rather than letting global employers pit worker against worker.

For instance, at one geographical transport hub like a port there might be workers from road, rail, maritime, docks, refineries, power stations, steel, food, oil and gas, and warehousing. The aim is to unite them all in a common cause.
 
What’s in it for workers?
By using the hubs model, workers can potentially have more influence during negotiations, bargaining and in disputes because employers will recognize the ability of workers to make a collective impact on supply chains.

The fluctuating oil price and the impact on our members, as corporations and big business exploit the opportunity to drive down terms, makes organizing across connected workplaces even more important. We can be assured that employers are working together toward their aims and we must do so as well.
 
Why is this going global?
This program is being piloted in the UK, but it’s hoped it will be rolled out to transport hubs in other countries as a model for how unions can organize nationally and internationally.

USW member Phil Baker was part of hubs training in Scotland, UK last year. He summed up the program:

“You can travel to different places and it’s very similar because you have the same situations. The same issues that are going on in Grangemouth (Scotland) are the same issues that are going on in California and on the Gulf Coast in Texas. These issues are everywhere; they’re worldwide. We’re all fighting the same companies, and we all need to work together.”

Go to www.ITFhubs.org for more on the industrial hubs program and to hear from workers about what it means to them.

Oil Council Coordinators

1.    BP Council – Bob Lofton
2.    Chevron Council – Bill Locke
3.    CHS Council – Steve Meyer
4.    Citgo Council – Ryan Meyhoff
5.    ExxonMobil Council – Ben Lilienfeld
6.    HollyFrontier – Monte Morlock
7.    Ineos Council – Larry Burchfield
8.    Marathon Council – Alan Sampson
9.    Multi Refinery Council – this is for the refineries that were in the Multi Company Council –Ken Gomeringer
10.    PBF Council – Dan Voorhees
11.    Phillips 66 Council – Steve Sullivan
12.    Pipeline, Transportation, & Marketing Council – this is for ALL pipelines, terminals, and truck drivers –Rick Erpelding
13.    Shell Council – Motiva will be part of the Multi Refinery Council once the split is official. –John Link
14.    Specialty Council – this includes lube plants, waxes, related chemical sites, asphalt and other specialty groups –Shig Noguchi
15.    Tesoro Council – Gaylan Prescott
16.    Valero Council – Hoot Landry

USW Oil Worker Wins National Jefferson Award for Helping Domestic Violence Survivors

Priscilla Puente, an oil refinery worker and member of USW Local 227 in Pasadena, Texas, won the Jefferson Awards Foundation’s Outstanding Public Service by an Employee honor.
Puente leads her local union’s efforts to raise money for scholarships that help women survivors of domestic violence at The Bridge Over Troubled Water shelter. These scholarships enable the women to study for family-sustaining employment at union-represented oil refineries.

The Jefferson Award is considered America’s gold seal of public service. Puente received the award at a national ceremony in Washington, D.C.
“The work of Priscilla Puente and her USW sisters and brothers is life-changing, and we’re so proud that she has received this well-deserved national honor,” said Leo W. Gerard, USW International President. “Priscilla understands that family-supporting employment means economic freedom, and that freedom helps victims of domestic abuse become survivors.”

Puente, a member of the union’s Women of Steel and Next Generation activist programs, was among 14 members and retirees honored as 2016 winners of Jefferson Awards as part of the USW Cares program, which encourages and highlights the community service work of our union. She was selected as the USW’s overall Jefferson Awards Foundation Champion volunteer for 2016 and represented the union at the national ceremony, where she competed against volunteers from around the nation for the top award.

“I hope this honor helps shine a light on the important work of Bridge Over Troubled Water, whose mission is really the same as our mission as a union,” Puente said. “They want to break the cycle of domestic violence, and we’re actually helping do that by helping people help themselves. We’ve shown that if you give someone in need a family-sustaining job, you change their life.”

“Words cannot express how proud we are of Priscilla for winning such a prestigious national honor,” said Ruben Garza, director of USW District 13, which covers Texas. “She represents what it means to be a Steelworker: someone who works hard not just on the job but in our communities. Steelworkers really do have big hearts and we hope this award helps inspire more people to help those in need.”

The USW is in its first year as a Champion with the Jefferson Awards Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to building a culture of service through a variety of programs and awards.

About the Jefferson Awards Foundation: The Jefferson Awards Foundation is committed to tapping into the incredible capacity and spirit of Americans. Its Youth programs, Students In Action, LEAD360, and GlobeChangers, support, train and empower youth to be leaders and changemakers. Its vast network of Media Partners honors local unsung heroes who are the best of their communities. Its Champions and National Partners are engaging, activating and celebrating their millions of constituents and employees. All together, working to build a culture of service in the country. For more information: www.jeffersonawards.org, @JeffersonAwards.

USW Shareholder Resolutions Press for Change in Oil Sector

This year the USW’s shareholder advocacy project presented a resolution on lobbying spending at shareholder meetings for ExxonMobil, Chevron and Tesoro and a health and safety resolution at the Marathon Petroleum shareholder meeting.

The lobbying resolutions received voting percentages of 26% at ExxonMobil, 27% at Chevron and 20% at Tesoro.    

“With so many resolutions at these companies garnering meager votes, our results are significant,” said Kim Nibarger, chair of the National Oil Bargaining Program.

The health and safety resolution at Marathon Petroleum received 8% of the shareholder vote, enough to enable the USW to file this resolution next year with an expectation of increasing the vote.  

ExxonMobil Resolution
For the fourth year in a row, the USW was the lead filer on the lobbying resolution calling for ExxonMobil to draft an annual report disclosing its political spending—particularly the company’s role in organizations like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and the Chamber of Commerce. ALEC is a conservative organization that writes model state legislation to limit government, destroy unions and advance its slash and burn agenda.

The lobbying resolution gained traction and additional co-filers this year because of the New York State Attorney General’s ongoing investigation into ExxonMobil’s alleged cover-up of climate change evidence for decades.  The USW was joined by several socially responsible investment (SRI) funds, nuns from the Sisters of Mercy, business students from Yale University and AP7- a Swedish public pension fund that owns over $260 million worth of ExxonMobil stock.

“When Hughes Jenkins, a Steelworker from Local 13-12 ExxonMobil, formally presented our resolution this year, I guarantee ExxonMobil’s management paid close attention,” Nibarger said.  

The USW was a co-filer on a similar lobbying resolution at Chevron. The City of Philadelphia Public Employees Retirement System took the lead this year.  

Marathon Resolution
The USW filed a shareholder resolution at Marathon Petroleum that called for the company to increase its disclosure of its process safety management performance. Forcing companies like Marathon to publicly disclose this data helps them to improve safety performance.

“We know that these oil companies are less likely to be reckless with our members’ lives if they are required to report the risks they are taking to their investors,” Nibarger said. “By crafting resolutions on process safety performance, we are able to make this work much more relevant to rank-and-file USW members and make a difference in health and safety at these companies.”
Membership Involvement

USW rank-and-file members are directly involved in every aspect of the union’s shareholder advocacy program—from participating in shareholder dialogues with companies to presenting the resolutions on the floor of the shareholder meeting.

As a result, this advocacy work engages the membership and mobilizes them while promoting socially responsible policies at target companies.

At the Marathon Petroleum stockholder meeting on April 27, Local 8-719 President Bret Queen from Marathon’s Catlettsburg, Ky., refinery presented the process safety resolution. Several Local 8-719 members joined Queen at the meeting.

At the Tesoro shareholder meeting on May 3 in San Antonio, Texas, USW Local 675 member Norman Rogers from the company’s Carson, Calif., refinery presented the lobbying resolution. Also attending was Local 12-591’s process safety representative John Nowakowski from Tesoro’s Anacortes, Wash., refinery.

“It’s in everyone’s interest to understand Tesoro’s lobbying spending and where all that money actually goes,” Rogers told the shareholders.  We want to know our board and management are overseeing our company’s lobbying—to make sure it’s being done in the best interest of all Tesoro’s stakeholders.”

 

To view the the printable PDF of this issue click here

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Wayne Ranick at 412-562-2444

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222