As I prepare to head to Canada this weekend (and possibly away from the internet) I wanted to update everyone.
The likelihood of a strike by the USW (United Steel Workers), the union that represents 30,000 workers, has risen. Both union officials and refining companies continue to make emergency plans, with union workers voting to authorize an IMMEDIATE strike at 12:01am Sunday morning if a new contract is not made. Oil companies on the other hand have alerted temporary workers and standby workers, with the USW warning that these workers are "minimally trained". No surprise they say that, the USW union has significant interest in worrying Americans so that a contract to their favor will be the result of such action.
The union is NOT in my opinion, in any position to lobby for such lavish benefits at this time. Refinery margins are negative, and will continue to be for some time to come. Union workers seemingly want a "piece of the pie" as oil prices hit records of $147 this summer. Perhaps one should ask if union workers would then mind paying the oil company when the refinery is in the red and losing money.
Many Americans should lobby against the union as their action (strike) would likely cause gas prices to skyrocket overnight, leaving Americans without jobs in a dire situation, and even Americans WITH jobs in a bad situation. Unfortunately for the USW, it seems like Big Oil holds the important cards in this decision, with only BP PLC saying they will shut refineries if there is a strike. ExxonMobil, Shell, Valero, and other players have either publicly stated or signaled they are preparing replacement workers.
If it was you, wouldn’t just having a job in this economy be enough? Apparently not for this union- they are asking for raises for every year until their next contract expires. They also want a safer work place, and I really can’t blame them. To lump a raise from a safety issue? A bit weak.
The actions of 30,000 union workers mainly seeking more pay and benefits has the potential to disrupt millions of American’s stability if gas prices rise as a result of refineries shutting down.
The United Steel Workers Union represents refinery workers at nearly half of U.S. refineries, which refine roughly 17.6 million barrels of oil per day.
Not only that, but it looks like we may have a price hike in Speedway states tomorrow. $1.99 seems the likely target as it seems that the Chicago Premium has dried up (look how low we got! $1.73!) We’ll see.
Watch the news Saturday night and be ready to fill up to avoid any potential gas price increases as a result of the USW union strike.