Oil Industry Talks Continue
LAKEWOOD, Colo. (AP) _ About 40,000 refinery workers remained on the job Thursday as union and oil industry officials continued contract talks.
The workers, represented by the Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers International Union, had threatened to strike starting midnight Wednesday if there was no progress in the talks.
But the workers agreed to stay on the job while the negotiations continued with oil industry officials representing about 300 companies.
On Monday, the union rejected the industry’s contract offer and said strikes were planned.
Union spokesman Rod Rogers said he did not know if any progress had been in the talks, but the extensions reflected ``more of an air of cautious optimism that things have a chance to move forward.″
``That’s the only concrete indication we have that things may have changed from looking pretty bleak on Monday when we refused the previous offer,″ he said.
Amoco Corp. is the lead company in the talks. Amoco spokeswoman Arline Datu declined comment on the specifics of the talks, but said the company remained hopeful an agreement would be reached soon.
The union has proposed a three-year contract with a wage increase of about 6 percent a year, more company contributions for health benefits and an improved pension plan.
It also is seeking contract language that would preserve jobs if refineries and other facilities change hands as part of a sale.
Amoco’s latest offer was a lump-sum bonus of $750 per worker in lieu of a first-year wage hike, and a 1.5 percent increase in both the second and third years. It also proposed maintaining the health benefits provided in the current contract.
The national average pay for a refinery worker is $19.49 per hour.