National Oil Bargaining

As our union contract is nearing expiration (midnight tonight), I’ve been reading a bit about the negotiations and union proposals. I’ve learned that the USW (representing most of the oil workers in the U.S.) has a national bargaining program ( where they negotiate national issues with one oil company, and all the others follow suit. Turns out most of the refineries have the same contract dates, and if the union strikes, several refineries could shut down this weekend – 11 refineries and chemical plants in Houston alone (
I’m a bit surprised this isn’t making headlines and causing a panic. Then again, maybe the press has learned that if they say there will be gasoline shortage, we’ll all run to the pump and create a shortage.

Some of the union proposals center around health and safety issues. I find it disturbing that either the workforce at some places don’t already have these protections, or they don’t know these protections exist (and how to use them). For example, they are demanding the right to refuse unsafe work. Yet, that right is guaranteed by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the act that created OSHA). Every employee in the United States has the right to refuse unsafe work – even in the smallest machine shop or florist. That’s regrettable (that employees don’t know that), but it’s just plain sad that employers would refuse to honor that right – even if it wasn’t written into law.

Pray for these workers – everyone deserves to make a living in a way that preserves their ability to enjoy their life.


About Joe

Writing on the things I'm passionate about: my family, my faith, and my work. View all posts by Joe

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