Marathon, Galveston Bay workers to resume contract talks

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Union workers at Marathon Petroleum Corp’s Galveston Bay Refinery are preparing to resume negotiations with the company after rejecting the last contract offer, a United Steelworkers (USW) official said.

The Galveston Bay Refinery, located in Texas City, Texas, was the site of a bitter strike in 2015, which began over a breakdown in national contract talks but lasted almost five months because of disagreements on local terms.

On Monday, Marathon spokesman Sid Barth said: “Negotiations continue, operations continue.”

No date has been set for the talks, said David Jankowski, vice president of USW Local 13-1, which represents workers at the refinery.

“We’re waiting on the company for dates and times,” Jankowski said.

The Galveston Bay workers rejected Marathon’s contract offer in voting last week.

One reason for the overwhelming vote against Marathon’s offer was a proposed change in leadership on the production units to salaried staff from hourly chief operators, Jankowski said.

Marathon is also seeking changes in time off and sick leave.

Negotiators for the USW International union reached agreement on Jan. 31 with Shell Oil Co, representing oil companies, on wages increases and benefits for 30,000 refinery, chemical plant, pipeline and terminal workers represented by the union, including the hourly employees at the Galveston Bay Refinery.

That agreement, which provides an 11 percent pay raise over its three-year length, will be paired with the agreement on local issues at Galveston Bay to make the contract for workers at the refinery.

Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Peter Cooney

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