Over the weekend, as their partial nationwide strike enters its fourth week, the United Steelworkers called on workers at three more refineries–including workers at the largest refinery in the U.S., the Motiva Enterprises refinery in Port Arthur, Texas–as well as a chemical plant to join 11 other refineries out on the picket lines.
Reuters reported that the union and Shell were near an agreement on Friday, except the other oil companies did not like direction of the possible agreement.
Shell and the USW were near an agreement for a new contract on Friday night, but other oil companies were unwilling to accept the bargain, said sources familiar with the talks.
As a result, 20% of the nation’s oil refining capacity is now affected.
According to USW press release, president Leo Gerard stated: “The industry’s refusal to meaningfully address safety issues through good faith bargaining gave us no other option but to expand our work stoppage.”
Some 1,350 USW members are employed at the three refineries and the chemical plant that together have a daily capacity of 1,073,260 (BPD).
According to GasBuddy.com, while gas prices are lower than they were six months ago, they are up an average $0.29 per gallon over last month’s average and since the union has been out on strike.