Oil Bargaining Basics

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Information on how an agreement gets reached and how your involvement can help to win a fair contract.

WHAT IS THE NATIONAL OIL BARGAINING PROGRAM?

The National Oil Bargaining Program, or NOBP, sets an industry pattern that standardizes collective bargaining in the oil sector.

WHAT IS COLLECTIVE BARGAINING?

Collective bargaining is the legal process for reaching an agreement between a labor union and an employer over the terms and conditions of employment, such as wages, hours of work, paid time off, benefits, employment security and protections against unfair treatment or discharge. Collective bargaining usually results in a written agreement or contract which outlines the terms and conditions of employment, continues for a specified term, and is subject to renegotiation at the expiration date of the contract.

WHO PARTICIPATES IN THE NATIONAL OIL BARGAINING PROGRAM?

220 individual sites across the United States are included in the union's National Oil Bargaining Program.

WHO DETERMINES OUR BARGAINING PRIORITIES?

Delegates that members elected to represent your local union attended the National Oil Bargaining Conference on September 23-26, 2018 in San Diego to debate and set our goals for oil bargaining. These goals and demands form the National Oil Bargaining Policy which members vote on.

WHO NEGOTIATES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL? 

Delegates to the NOBP Conference elect rank-and-file oil workers from the geographic regions to be members of the Policy Committee. There are five members of the Policy Committee and five alternates. USW leadership works together with Policy Committee members to set policy.

DO WE VOTE ON THE NATIONAL OIL BARGAINING POLICY?

All members have an opportunity to vote on this Policy. The Policy is ratified upon a favorable vote of 75% of the voting units. By ratifying and adopting the Policy, we affirm that these demands are the issues we want to have addressed in negotiations. By voting to ratify the Policy, you are also voting to authorize the USW leader­ship to call for a strike if we don't reach an agreement once our contract expires.

ARE ALL ISSUES NEGOTIATED AT THE NATIONAL TABLE?

No. There are three layers of negotiations and solidarity. National, Council and Local.

National Bargaining: USW leadership, with input from the policy commit­tee, bargain national issues with the industry.

Council bargaining: if your local shares the same employer as other USW locals, your local union is part of a council. Together, the local unions in a council may bargain company-wide issues. Some examples of council bar­gaining issues are: healthcare plan design, retirement benefits and other issues that are unique to your employer that affect everyone.

Local Union Bargaining: your local union bargaining committee (some­times called a workers committee) and your USW Staff Representative negotiate local issues with local management. Some examples of local union bargaining is­sues are: refinery work rules, shoe and meal allowances and special assignments.

HOW DO WE GET A GOOD AGREEMENT?

It is the union that demands a fair contract that addresses the needs of its members. The company is not going to "give" us anything. It never has, and it never will. In order to reach a fair contract, we must be prepared to build and use our bargaining power.

Our bargaining power comes from our solidarity- our determination and willingness to stick together to obtain our goals. Sharing information and taking part in actions showing unity can send a message that we are not satisfied with the company's proposals and will fight for a fair contract.

National Oil Bargaining gives us strength in numbers and enables us to negotiate with Big Oil with one voice. When we stand together for each other, we can level the playing field as we face the world's richest and most powerful companies.