He had only an hour's notice. Lee Medley, local president of USW District 13-1, got the call from the national representatives of the United Steelworkers at 11 p.m. on January 31. There was no new contract, and he was going to have to lead 800 workers from Shell Deer Park out on strike. Nobody -- not the local negotiators, the Shell administrators, the workers or the president of the local United Steelworkers union, Medley himself -- thought it would happen.
As the weight of what he was about to do sank in, he pulled out his phone and texted his wife of more than 30 years, Connie Medley.
"There's no new contract. I have to take them out."More »