Delta refinery, union reach deal on local issues, likely avoiding strike

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2015 3:46 PM

By Jarrett Renshaw

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc's Philadelphia-area refinery has struck a deal with the local union that will likely prevent the facility from joining the country's largest U.S. refinery strike in 35 years.

United Steelworkers 10-234 and Monroe Energy, the subsidiary of Delta that runs the 185,000-barrel-per-day refinery in Trainer, Pennsylvania, issued a joint statement Friday that said: "After a month of good faith negotiations, we’re pleased to announce that we have reached a tentative agreement on all local issues including wages and benefits."

The two sides declined to disclose the details of the agreement.

The final decision on whether to strike rests with USW International, which is leading national bargaining talks with Royal Dutch Shell. One of the factors used in weighing a strike at a refinery is whether there is agreement on local issues.

Once USW International and Shell reach an agreement, it will be combined with contract at the local level.

The USW International has already called for strikes in 15 facilities since Feb. 1, including 12 refineries that account for one-fifth of U.S. domestic production capacity. Labor leaders have threatened more strikes if talks, which resume Monday, fail.

Negotiations take place simultaneously at the local and national level, with the national discussions involving specific items like wages and the use of contractors. But the dividing lines are not always clear.

(Reporting By Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)