Talk of potential worker strikes at five Tesoro Corp. (TSO) refineries involved in contract negotiations is “just rumors,” said Greg Goff, the company’s chief executive officer.
The San Antonio-based company has been in talks with union locals at the oil plants since January and is working toward agreements, Goff said during the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers’ annual meeting in San Diego.
“We’re in discussions all the time with the union,” Goff said in an interview. “They seem to be going OK.”
Workers at all five refineries, which total 508,000 barrels a day of capacity, rejected the company’s final offers on a three- year contract last month. Union crews at the 170,000-barrel-a- day Golden Eagle (TEMTCRUD) refinery in Northern California, the largest plant in Tesoro’s system, became the first to authorize a strike March 5.
Tesoro plans to run some refinery operations with other employees if there’s a strike, Tina Barbee, a company spokeswoman in San Antonio, said in an e-mail March 6.
“We currently have no intention to permanently replace represented employees with non-represented employees,” Barbee said.
United Steelworkers, which represents more than 1,300 employees at six Tesoro refineries, said the company wants authority to “unilaterally change or eliminate the health care, pension and 401(k) plans and vacation policies.”
“Our members are engaged in good-faith bargaining, but Tesoro seems unwilling to reach a reasonable agreement on this important issue and appears determined to provoke a fight with our members and our union,” Gary Beevers, the union’s international vice president, said in an e-mailed statement March 6.
The other four refineries in negotiation are in Anacortes (TEANCRUD), Washington; Kapolei (TEKACRUD), Hawaii; Mandan (TEMACRUD), North Dakota; and Salt Lake City (TESLCRUD). Workers there may follow Martinez with strike authorizations if they don’t reach settlements with the company. Unions at all five plants have been working on 24-hour rolling extensions of a contract that expired Jan. 31.
The union contract at Tesoro’s 97,000-barrel-a-day Wilmington (SHWCCRUD) refinery in Southern California expires April 30.
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