Marathon Galveston Bay workers back leadership's rebuff of offer

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 26, 2015 9:05 PM

LA MARQUE, Texas (Reuters) - More than 800 striking workers at Marathon Petroleum Corp's Galveston Bay Refinery voted on Sunday to back their leaders' rejection of a last, best and final offer from the company to end a three-month work stoppage.

"They have no interest in accepting this (offer)," said Larry Burchfield, vice president of United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 13-1, which represents 1,100 workers striking at the refinery in Texas City, Texas. "They gave us overwhelming support. They do not want to take the (the offer) to a vote."

The workers met in an auditorium at the La Marque, Texas, High School. Frequent outbursts of applause were heard coming from the auditorium during the meeting, which was open only to union members.

The union rejected the offer on April 16. Last week, the refinery's manager sent a letter to striking employees saying the proposal remained on the negotiating table.

The union has said the offer could cost more than 150 jobs and would roll back safety policies implemented by previous owner BP Plc following a deadly 2005 explosion.

A Marathon representative was not immediately available to discuss negotiations with the union.

Companies usually make a last, best and final offer in a bid to end a strike.

The two sides are scheduled to meet on Monday with a federal mediator.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)