National Oil Bargaining Gains

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The National Oil Bargaining Program builds power for workers by joining together to negotiate major issues.

It sets an industry pattern that includes wages, benefits, safety standards and process safety management, job security protections, vacation, successorship, and language to ensure companies cannot backslide on previous agreements.

Each Local Union elects delegates to participate in the National Oil Bargaining Conference where bargaining priorities and objectives are determined. Then, the membership at each Local Union votes to ratify the policy.

The program has dramatically improved the standard of living for oil workers, created a culture of safety in the industry, and helped to level the playing field for workers negotiating with some of the largest and wealthiest corporations in the world.


USW oil workers in our last round of bargaining in 2015 stood up to one of the world’s richest and most powerful industries with the largest refinery work stoppage in 35 years. USW members and their supporters displayed unshakeable solidarity in a fight for a fair contract that sent the oil industry a strong message.


1967: Rate Retention and 25% Shift Premium

1971: Non-Contributory Pensions and Extra Paid Holiday

1973: First Health and Safety Clauses

1975: Additional Paid Holiday

1977: 125% Shift Premium

1979: 30 Years = 6 Weeks of Vacation

1982: Life Insurance Improvements

1990: $250,000 Death Benefit for Workplace Deaths

1993: Company-paid Health and Safety Training

1997: Successorship Language

2002: 50% Shift Premium, Job Security Provisions, Increased Death Benefit to $500,000

2009: Preserved NOBP Pattern and Wage Increases in Face of Major Global Recession

2012: Process Safety Improvements and Implementation of Fatigue Management

2015: Fought for safer workplaces through fatigue management, training and development programs. Preserved past gains such as successorship and non-retrogression.