HOUSTON (Reuters) - The strike by U.S. refinery workers, which entered its 16th day on Monday, could spread if there is no progress in talks this week with plant on owners on safe staffing levels, said the leader of United Steelworkers union (USW) contract bargaining program.
"The longer that this strike rolls on, the more people that will be affected," said Gary Beevers, USW international vice president, in a telephone interview on Monday.
Asked if the lack of progress in talks with lead oil company negotiator Royal Dutch Shell Plc could result more strikes, Beevers said: "There certainly will be."
About 5,200 workers from 11 plants, including nine refineries accounting for 13 percent of U.S. capacity, were walking picket lines after talks between the USW and Shell Oil Co failed to reach an agreement on a new national contract.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)