HOUSTON – Marathon Petroleum Corp said on Tuesday it was disappointed by the rejection of a contract offer by striking workers at the company’s Galveston Bay Refinery in Texas City, Texas.
Workers on Monday overwhelmingly rejected the offer developed by a federal mediator working with the company and United Steelworkers union Local 13-1, which represents the strikers.
“We remain committed to resolving this labor dispute and finalizing a new collective bargaining agreement,” Marathon spokesman Jamal Kheiry said in a statement. “We are confident in the abilities of our trained replacement workers to continue to operate the plant successfully, as they have demonstrated over the last 15 weeks.”
The 451,000 barrel-per-day refinery has continued to operate with temporary replacement workers since the strike began over three months ago.
Officials of USW Local 13-1 said on Monday night, after announcing the rejection of the contract offer to cheering union members, that they are willing to meet with Marathon negotiators and the mediator to conclude a new contract.
The stoppage at the Galveston Bay Refinery has become especially bitter as the union said the company was pushing proposals that would eliminate job security and roll back safety policies put in place after an explosion that killed 15 workers in 2005, when the plant was owned by BP Plc.
The Galveston Bay strike began on Feb. 1 as part of the largest walkout by U.S. refinery and chemical plant workers in 35 years. The national stoppage spread to 15 plants, including 12 refineries that account for one-fifth of U.S. capacity.
An agreement on national issues, including pay and benefits, was reached between the USW and U.S. refinery owners on March 12 and strikes at 13 plants ended after outstanding local issues were resolved.
The proposal rejected on Monday was based on an offer the company made in April that was rejected by Local 13-1.
In addition to the Marathon Galveston Bay strike, workers remain on strike at the 135,000 bpd Toledo, Ohio refinery co-owned by BP and Husky Energy.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
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