The United Steelworkers (USW) called for a demonstration at BP’s offices at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange on Wednesday despite a tentative agreement with Royal Dutch Shell to resolve a months long strike.
Rank-and-file union members and elected union leaders are expected to stage the rally on Thursday, the USW said.
The union reached a tentative four year deal with Shell last week that could end work stoppages at 16 U.S. refineries and plants including BP’S Whiting, Indiana and Toldeo, Ohio refineries.
The strike began on February 2 and spread to 16 refineries and plants after a national contract covering 65 facilities expired.
Although the union’s deal with Shell will serve as a pattern agreement for the rest of the industry each local unit of the union must also conclude site specific talks with management before inking new contracts.
“Our goal is not to break the local USW union or prolong this strike. We did not want or call for this strike. We are seeking a collective bargaining agreement that ensures safe, sustainable and competitive operations, continues to fairly compensate employees and allows management the flexibility to make necessary changes during the life of the agreement while recognizing the traditional bargaining rights afforded to the union,” BP told PGN.
The union said it expects the rally to “show BP management that USW oil workers are united in their drive for fair contracts and are serious about the safety improvements long overdue at BP and throughout the oil industry.”
Over 700 union workers at Motiva Enterprises’ Port Arthur refinery in Texas agreed Tuesday to end their strike after unanimously approving a new contract, Reuters said.
The Port Arthur employees are expected to return to work sometime next week.
BP said it will “continue to safely and compliantly operate our Whiting refinery with the skilled and qualified workforce currently in place.”