Sunday, February 1, 2015

Largest U.S. Oil Workers Strike Since 1980: Gas Prices Could Soar And Could Be Shortages

Oil workers from coast to coast are on strike. They started to walk off the job around midnight when their union failed to reach a deal with the energy industry. It's not clear how many workers are on strike.

The contract in dispute covers about 30,000 workers at refineries, pipelines, oil terminals, and petrochemical plants across the country

Shell is representing the energy industry in labor talks with the United Steelworkers Association. Shell hasn't commented on what caused talks to break down. The USW sent a message to its members calling the latest offer from oil companies "insulting."

In a statement, USA International President Leo W. Gerard said, "Shell refused to provide us with a counter-offer and left the bargaining table. We had no choice but to give notice of a work stoppage."

USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads the union's National Oil Bargaining Program, said in the same statement, "This work stoppage is about onerous overtime; unsafe staffing levels; dangerous conditions the industry continues to ignore; the daily occurrences of fires, emissions, leaks and explosions that threaten local communities without the industry doing much about it; the industry's refusal to make opportunities for workers in the trade crafts; the flagrant contracting out that impacts health and safety on the job; and the erosion of our workplace, where qualified and experienced union workers are replaced by contractors when they leave or retire."

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