Final contract offer to end refinery walkout still on table: Marathon

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 22, 2015 4:39 PM

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Marathon Petroleum Corp's "last, best and final offer" to settle an 11-week walkout by hourly workers at the Galveston Bay Refinery remains on the negotiating table despite being rejected by the United Steelworkers union (USW), the company said on Wednesday.

In a letter to refinery employees, plant Manager Ray Brooks said a union counter offer made at a negotiating session on Monday included an additional proposal and reversion to prior positions.

"We do not believe this demonstrates good faith bargaining by the USW and does not support an effort to get a settlement and return employees to work who been off for nearly three months," Brooks wrote.

A union representative could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, an official of USW Local 13-1, which represents striking workers at the refinery, said the union's 50-page proposal, which Marathon negotiators rejected, was a move toward the company's position.

The company also said it has provided "hundreds of pages of responses to 63 information requests that comprised 918 questions over the duration of the negotiations."

The union said on Tuesday much of Monday's long negotiating session was spent listening to spoken replies to 80 information requests.

In the letter, Brooks said the offer includes the agreement on pay, benefits and workplace policies reached on March 12 by national negotiators for the USW and U.S. refinery owners.

Marathon's offer also includes changes to bring the refinery's contract in-line with policies at other Marathon refineries, Brooks said.

Marathon purchased the refinery and related operations from BP Plc in 2013 for $2.4 billion.

Workers have told Reuters that Marathon's push to bring policies in line with operations at company plants is rolling back safety policies implemented by BP following a deadly 2005 explosion that killed 15 contract workers and injured 180 other people.

The USW has said the final offer could cost more than 150 employees their jobs. About 1,100 workers have been on strike at the Marathon refinery since Feb. 1.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Grant McCool)