Tentative Labor Deal Averts Western Wash. Refinery Strikes

Feb 1, 2012

FERNDALE, Wash. -- The United Steelworkers Union has reached a tentative deal with oil companies to avert a possible strike at dozens of refineries, including three important ones in the Northwest. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Negotiations over a new labor contract for refinery workers concluded mere hours before a late night deadline. The United Steelworkers and Shell Oil announced a tentative three-year deal that's intended to set the pattern for local agreements at unionized refineries nationwide. That includes the big ConocoPhillips refinery near Ferndale, Washington, Tesoro in Anacortes and US Oil in Tacoma. Those are the sources for much of the gasoline, diesel and jet fuel sold in the Northwest.

A union source indicated the new contract includes pay raises in each of the next three years. There were no immediate details on how another sticking point was resolved. Union negotiators were pushing to strengthen workplace safety at refineries. The new contract still needs approval from the union membership.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio