USW tries to rally consumers behind refinery safety
Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union who work at oil refineries around the country held a National Day of Action for Safe Refineries and Good Jobs on January 21. Members in refinery communities around the country visited gas stations and distributed handbills to drivers on the importance of refinery safety in the ongoing round of contract negotiations.
The USW represents more than 30,000 workers in the oil sector. With most labor agreements are due to expire Feb. 1, the union wants to focus attention at the bargaining table on health and safety issues. The USW says that in 2009, the industry "rebuffed" significant changes the union proposed to health and safety language in the contract.
“Since the last time we sat down to bargain with the oil industry three years ago, 18 oil workers have died on the job,” says Gary Beevers, the Steelworkers’ International Vice President for Oil Bargaining. “That’s unacceptable. This time around we expect to see some real, enforceable improvements on health and safety.”
Actions were planned in Texas, Louisiana, Utah, California, Washington, Pennsylvania, and other locations around the country.
The workers say that communicating with consumers in refinery communities helps get the word out about refinery safety.
For more information, visit www.oilbargaining.org.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in pulp, paper and packaging, metals, rubber, chemicals, oil refining, atomic energy, government and the service sector.