From today’s Associated Press:
More than 500 workers at a Chevron Corp. refinery in the San Francisco Bay Area went on strike early Monday over safety concerns and to demand a salary increase to keep up with inflation and the area’s high cost of living.
The strike affecting the refinery in the city of Richmond began at 12:01 a.m. It came after workers voted down Chevron’s most recent contract offer and the company refused to return to the bargaining table, the United Steelworkers union said.
Chevron said in a statement Sunday night that it has negotiated with the union for months and believes a contract offered by the company was fair and addressed union concerns.
The union said it had negotiated a national agreement for oil workers on wages and working conditions, but about 200 individual bargaining units still had to negotiate local issues.
USW Local 5 representative B.K. White, a refinery operator who has worked for the company for 29 years, said Chevron failed to address worker fatigue and a lack of staffing.
Chevron said that in Richmond, the union’s demands “exceeded what the company believes to be reasonable and moved beyond what was agreed to as part of the national pattern bargaining agreement.”
The company offered a 2.5% pay increase, but the union had asked for 5% to keep up with inflation and cost of living in the Bay Area, White said.
“It’s rough for the blue-collar worker in the Bay Area, and we asked for a 5% bump to help us out a little bit with our medical at Kaiser, which went up 23% last year,” White said.
White said the company has already brought in about 100 replacement workers who are not trained to run the plants.
Read the complete story here.