P66 Refinery Workers Reject Contract, Citing Safety Concerns

Reuters, October 7, 2019

Union workers at Phillips 66’s 285,000-barrel-per-day Bayway refinery in Linden, NJ, voted against a three-year contract on Friday evening, raising the chances of a strike or lockout at the largest petrochemical complex on the U.S. East Coast. Some 266 of the 429 union workers who voted opposed ratifying the agreement, while 163 voted in its favor, according to a union representative from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 877.

The union intends to continue negotiations with Phillips 66 under a 24-hour rolling contract that has been in place since the previous deal expired on Sept. 30, the representative said. If an agreement is not reached, the unionized refinery workers could be subject to a lockout, leaving the company without access to certain emergency response systems such as a fire department.

A spokesperson for Phillips 66 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Key provisions of the contract voted on Friday included expanding operators’ responsibilities to include several different operating refinery units, a provision some union members said is a safety concern. Two sources familiar with the negotiations said that the proposed contract also included an across-the-board 11% raise for refinery workers.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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