United Steelworkers (USW) Strike Against BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) Whiting Refinery


United Steelworkers (USW) union did not meet with any success in its negotiations and as a consequence, it asked all of its 6500 members to leave their jobs and come out in public, in order to start a countrywide protest. The basic demands put forth by the labor union focused on improved and safe operating environment.

Lengthy negotiations had been carried on between USW and Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A). The representative negotiator spoke on behalf of all employers working across the country in this oil refinery. On 12 March an agreement was reached between both the parties to put an end to this strike which was initiated on 1 February.

This tentative agreement tended to cover all the settlement contract in which USW workers throughout the country were involved. Moreover, local issues would be dealt on a separate basis. Under the terms and conditions of this agreement, workers of the Royal Dutch Shell plc (NYSE:RDS.A) are supposed to resume their jobs by the current week.

At the company’s refinery in Texas, elections were held, in which the workers collectively voted in favor of the new settlement contracts and agreed to return to work early morning on Monday. However, in other regions, things do not seem to be going this smooth. Several local issues have prevented the workers from ending up in an agreed contract with their employers. Strikes are still being carried out, as almost 1,100 members protest in Indiana, outside BP plc’s (ADR) (NYSE:BP) Whiting Refinery. It ought to be noted here that this latter refinery is ranked as the sixth largest oil refinery of US. Moreover, it has the ability of refining crude oil of about 400,000 barrels every day.

President of USW Local 7-1, Dave Danko, gave his statement regarding the current situation which was then reported in the Chicago Tribune. Mr. Danko asserted that BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) has been carrying on feeble attempt so that local union’s shared negotiating rights might lose their vivacity and strength. This strategy of the company has been serving as the biggest obstacle, which is hindering the workers to return to their jobs. Mr. Danko further stated that no concrete steps had been taken by the company to ensure contract settlements.

On the other hand, the officials of BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP) present a contrary picture. They continue to assert that the company’s offers are quite fair and are in accordance with other proposals made by oil refineries to their protesting workers all over the country. The company is also in agreement with the tentative agreement formed between workers of the USW and Royal Dutch Shell plc. This agreement covers all those controversial points between the two entities which ultimately led to this nationwide protest.

Mr. Danko asserts that although at this juncture, there are various disagreements, but the native union will endure carrying out negotiations and at some point, an agreement would eventually be reached between the striking workers and BP plc (ADR) (NYSE:BP).

This strike by USW had been the largest since 1980’s; so large that it tended to have a negative impact upon 20% of the oil refining capacity inside US.

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