USW Reaches Tentative Agreement with Shell

By Allen Smith Mar 13, 2015
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The United Steelworkers (USW) announced March 12, 2015, that it has reached a tentative agreement on a new four-year contract with Shell Oil as a pattern agreement for the rest of the industry.

The union has been striking at 11 refineries since Feb. 1, 2015. Safety was a main concern in the strike negotiations.

“We salute the solidarity exhibited by our membership,” said USW International President Leo Gerard. “There was no way we would have won vast improvements in safety and staffing without it.”

The proposed agreement calls for the immediate review of staffing and workload assessments, with USW safety personnel involved at every facility. It also addresses daily maintenance and repair work in the plants.

”The new agreement calls for joint review on the local level of future, craftworker staffing needs,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway. “Included are hiring plans to be developed in conjunction with recruitment and training programs.”

The tentative agreement also calls for yearly wage increases and maintains the current health care plan cost-sharing ratio.

“The next step in the bargaining process is for the company to put the terms of the settlement agreement on all of the Shell and Motiva bargaining tables,” a USW press release said. “Our expectation is that other employers will offer the same terms at their local bargaining tables. The local unions will then review the employers’ proposals. … Approved settlement agreements are then submitted to the local membership for explanation and ratification votes.”

Shell did not return a call for comment.

Allen Smith, J.D., is the manager of workplace law content for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMlegaleditor.

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