Here’s a (link) to an article by Bloomberg about several U.S. oil refiners preparing for a possible strike by the United Steelworkers union. The current contract is scheduled to expire at midnight, but negotiations are ongoing and could continue after the contract expires without a work stoppage.
Prior to the contract expiring, Exxon Mobil Corp. and Valero Energy Corp. received notices from USW of its intent to strike at refineries in Montana and Texas if a national labor contract expired without an agreement.
The contract covers 30,000 workers at 69 refineries. Companies are deciding whether to shut refineries or operate them with nonunion workers if the union should declare a general strike. During negotiations three years ago, both sides agreed to three, 24-hour rolling extensions of the contract before a deal was finally worked out.
One of the facilities involved in this is the ConocoPhillips Ferndale Refinery, which has about 400 full-time and contract employees. At this point it’s a wait-and-see situation while negotiations continue. I’ll try to update this evening if the situation changes.
UPDATE: Refiners and the union reached a tentative three-year agreement at around 5:30 p.m. local time. Details will be posted on the business section at TheBellinghamHerald.com