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USW strike update

Hydrocarbon Engineering,

As strikes at US refineries entered their 13th day on Friday last week, Tesoro Corp announced that it was confident that its refineries in California and Washington could operation with its non-union workers for a ‘very long period of time.’ The company also announced that it was starting to form plans to restart its San Francisco refinery which is operating as a terminal at the moment, so it will be ready to resume operations as a refinery when strike action ends. Tesoro has said in its first quarter throughput outlook that it believes the strike action could carry on through March.

At the moment, Tesoro’s 166 00 bpd refinery in Martinez, California, 363 000 bpd refinery in Los Angeles and 120 000 bpd refinery in Anacortes, Washington are part of the plants that are being impacted by strike action. The Martinez refinery is currently idled as it was days away before restarting shut units when the strike action began. The plant it going to be offline for the duration of the strike. Reuters has quoted Tesoro Chief Executive, Greg Goff as saying, “everyone goes through pretty exhaustive planning because people working at the refineries have to be certified. We feel very comfortable we can continue running with the staff levels we have for a very long period of time.”

Next level talks

The next set of talks to deal with contract issues are set to start this week. At the moment approximately 5400 workers at 11 facilities, including 9 refineries are on strike with no immediate end in sight. Reuters has quoted Ray Fisher, spokesman for Shell Oil Co and lead company negotiator as saying “we’re still fulfilling the information request from the USW and looking forward to resuming negotiations.” Talks are scheduled to restart on Wednesday February 18.

No new notices

Last Friday, USW reported that no new strike notices had been issued. The last round were issued on Friday February 6 when the union told BP that its workers would walk off their jobs the following day at facilities in Indiana and Ohio.

35 years ago

The last time there was a strike of this magnitude in the US was in 1980. Workers then faced problems with wages, safety, pensions and health benefits. The action then was led by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers union (OCAW).

Sources: Reuters, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, World Socialist Web Site.

Edited from various sources by Claira Lloyd

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