Just when there’s good news about gas and oil prices, the country is knocked back into reality by a U.S oil refinery strike. Members of the United Steelworkers union went on strike the beginning of February. The 6,550 members of the union want more money and better benefits. They say if Walmart can pay their employees $9 an hour, they want an increase that will bring their wages in line with their responsibilities.http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/02/23/us-refineries-labor-strike-idUSKBN0LP06420150223
The talks are stalled at the moment, but sources say negotiations may resume in the very near future. Meanwhile, twelve of the largest oil refineries in the country are in oil limbo, but only one refinery is completely shut down.
Susan McGalla of American Eagle knows that the workers feel the economy has rebounded, but their wages have not. They also see the drop in crude prices and know consumers will pay more to offset the increase they will receive when all the negotiating ends. The dispute is not just about wages. Healthcare, fatigue and the use of outside contractors are also issues.
Shell Oil and the other refineries have offered a 2% increase the first two years of a new three-year contract, and 2.5% increase the third year. The union turned that offer down.