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Refinery workers strike for second day at 9 plants, including one in Carson

By STUART PFEIFER

About 3,800 workers struck for the second day Monday at nine U.S. refineries,

including one in Carson, following the breakdown of contract negotiations between

the United Steelworkers union and Shell Oil Co.

The job action, which began Sunday, is the largest strike of refinery workers since 1980, union

officials said. The USW called for the strike after Shell management did not meet its demands

regarding safety and health insurance issues.

“Shell refused to provide us with a counteroffer and left the bargaining table,” USW International

President Leo W. Gerard said in a news release. “We had no choice but to give notice of a work

stoppage.”

A Shell representative told the Associated Press that that the company remains “committed to

resolving our differences with USW at the negotiating table to reach a mutually satisfactory

agreement.”

The affected refineries include two in California -- Tesoro refineries in Carson and Martinez -- as

well as five in Texas and one each in Kentucky and Washington.

About 800 workers are on strike at the Tesoro Carson Refinery, said David Campbell of USW

Local 675, which represents most refinery workers in Southern California.

Workers at the Carson refinery are prepared to hold out as long as necessary, Campbell said.

"As far as how long it goes, no one has a crystal ball," Campbell said. "We don't know."

Tesoro said that it will continue operating its Carson refinery and another affected by the strike in

Anacortes, Wash. The company said that because the strike occurred during ongoing maintenance

at its Martinez plant, “the safest operating position at this time is to idle the remaining process

units.” USW spokeswoman Lynne Hancock said the union wants a three-year contract and is prepared to

broaden the strike to other refineries if the impasse continues. She said no new talks have been scheduled.

United Steelworkers represents about 30,000 workers at refineries, terminals, petrochemical plants

and pipelines across the country. Shell is serving as the lead company in national oil bargaining

talks with the union.

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