United Steelworkers announces concessions contract agreement with Shell Oil


United Steelworkers announces concessions contract agreement with Shell Oil

Jessica Goldstein

2 February 2019

On Thursday, the United Steelworkers (USW) announced a tentative contract agreement with Shell Oil Co., a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell PLC, within hours of the contract expiration deadline and after keeping workers in the dark about the talks since they began in mid-January. If passed, the contracts will govern the working conditions and lives of 30,000 oil US refinery, petrochemical plant, pipeline and terminal employees in 220 USW bargaining units across the US.

The World Socialist Web Site urges workers to vote “no” on the insulting deal being pushed by the USW, which will be combined with local contracts still to be worked out. Workers must demand to see the full contract—not just the highlights, as the USW gave to 31,000 steelworkers this past fall—and have two weeks to study it.

The contract agreement with Shell is part of a national pattern agreement, which will set the framework for subsequent agreements with other oil corporations in the coming weeks. Shell has led the oil corporations in talks with the unions’ National Oil Bargaining Program since 1999. Marathon Petroleum Corp. handed its final contract offer to USW officials on Friday.

Few details have been released about the three-year contract proposal. However, it includes a paltry 11 percent wage increase over the life of the entire contract, with a 3.5 percent increase in each of the first two years and a four per cent increase in the final year—barely enough to keep pace with inflation.

The remaining details of the proposal—on important issues including healthcare, safety, retirement benefits, and scheduling—will not be released until members are able to examine it and vote,…

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