Union authorizes strike Sunday, oil companies making contingency plans

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.




Add a Comment
  1. ./golf clap (to the unions)

    Seriously I agree, stupidity runs deep in unions.

  2. The union workers are already making more than the national average for wages and benefits, what more could they possibly want? A strike would be unconscionable and would only put the union at further odds with the public that they serve. The CEOs are already being reviled because of the huge bonuses that they reward themselves with. It seems to me that a strike would do nothing more than to bring about more socialism as I am sure Pres. Obama would move quickly to order them back to work.

  3. I believe President Obama would have to step in if gas prices went too high. I am sure gas prices will shot right up big time on Sunday or Monday morning if they go on strike. The american people will not stand for high gas prices again. Unemployment was lower when gas prices were sky high.

  4. Let’s see. The price of gas goes up, not as much money to spend on -stuff- , the makers of all that -stuff- cut their workforces, not as much money to spend on more -stuff-, out of work people lose their homes, well, you know the drill. $4 gas this summer was a major contributing factor in the economic meltdown we’re experiencing, and while $2 gas is a lot better than $4 gas (relatively speaking), every extra nickel consumers spend on gas to get to work (if they have work) is a nickel less for other necessities of life.
    There will be a lot more bad will towards the refineries, the oil companies, and the politicians who are the oil companies stooges (if there isn’t enough already). When’s it gonna stop?

  5. I hope that these idiots do strike. There are so many people out of work that if this indeed does happen, their jobs will be filled by Monday at 7am. As for BP and Valero, they won’t have a choice but to fire up their refineries again. If other refineries continue to produce (even at reduced rates) BP and Valero are going to lose their butts. So I say bring on the strike and good luck finding jobs to replace the overpaid ones that you currently have.

  6. Wow!

    I can’t believe all the union apathy I am reading. There’s more to their demands than pay raises. Union ( or rather union members) have a stake in the viability and long term success of their companies. Rather than blaming Unions for being selfish and the union member self-serving, maybe we should study the history of the labor movement and see what those who made sacrifices in the past for the good of the middle class.

    By the way, the big reason BP is shutting down the refineries is because of the low cost of oil and the excess volume. If prices go up, they will either negotiate or train replacements.

    What if it were you and your company had posted record profits over consecutive years?

  7. I for one am not against the unions by any means (I am part of one.) HOWEVER, at this time in our economy, we have to be thankful that we even have jobs! We (our union) will be negotiating again in the next year and I know that our contracts will be very similar to where we are at right now. I agree with you and what you are saying, but to threaten a strike right now quite frankly is ridiculous and they may want to consider their thought process and who they have representing them. I don’t want to turn this into a debate forum as we are here to discuss big oil’s crock game. I do think this could be a tactic by big oil to increase prices yet again.

  8. Ok, i think things need to be set straight. I am a USW worker, and darn proud of it. Just because other people do not have high paying jobs like ours is NOT our problem. This country is not a socilist country; yet. Nobody is equal, and nobody will ever be equal. We work in an industry which makes billions of dollars. The only reason they make that much money is because of the Union workers working for them. I hope we dont go on strike, but if we do i am prepaired to walk out. We deserve more. People who down us have no idea what we do inside these gates.

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