|Photo by Max burkhalter|
|Lee Medley and the USW District 13-1 union members outside of the USW Hall in Pasadena.|
Representatives from United Steelworkers International and Royal Dutch Shell were back at the bargaining table Wednesday and it seems they talked just long enough to decide they'll try this whole talking thing again next week.
That means the strike is definitely going on for another week, at least, which is rough news for those hoping it would be over by now.
The USW oil refinery strike, the first major oil refinery strike in 35 years, started February 1 and the USW members at Shell Deer Park, LyondellBasell and Marathon Texas City were some of the first called to walk out on strike by the national arm of USW. Since then USW has pulled out more than 6,000 workers at 15 plants across the country, including 12 refineries.
USW has been negotiating a national contract that the local union groups will use as guidelines for their contracts with the company. Shell is negotiating on behalf of the oil industry. They've been trying to hammer out a deal since January 21. So far, things haven't gone well.
Meanwhile, the tensions between the strikers and management have been ratcheting up. People have been crossing the picket line at Shell Deer Park since the second week of the strike. Shell spokeswoman Kelly op de Weegh says that 20 percent of the 800 union members have come back to work at Shell Deer Park. Lee Medley, president of USW District 13-1 that represents Shell workers, says that the number is closer to around 100. Either way, strikes depend on union members not crossing picket lines, as we've already noted, so this is a pretty big deal to the local union. More »