Oil industry, union start labour talks as contract nears expiration

Source: Marathon

A union representing oil workers kicked off talks to reach a new national labour contract, which expires at the end of this month.

Representatives of the United Steelworkers are meeting in San Antonio with Marathon Petroleum Corp., which is representing the industry, according to union president Tom Conway. Marathon declined to comment. 

Traditionally, the union had bargained with Royal Dutch Shell plc. However, with Marathon becoming the largest U.S. refiner after a spate of acquisitions, the two sides decided to switch industry’s representative. 

Among the topics to be discussed will be reducing carbon emissions, said Conway. Investments aimed at reducing emissions are seen as vital to making sure communities continue to allow refineries to operate in their neighbourhoods. Conway wouldn’t comment on any potential demands related to wages or benefits. 

The talks come as workers nationwide continue to push for better wages following a year of robust earnings for companies. Workers at Deere & Co. in November landed a six-year deal that included a 10 per cent wage increase in the first year, a five per cent boost in the third and fifth years, and an $8,500 signing bonus, in addition to other sweetened benefits. Kellogg Co. workers reached a deal that included better health benefits and cost-of-living raises to help combat impacts from inflation.

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