USW strike continues at Catlettsburg

Published 12:10 am Sunday, March 22, 2015

CATLETTSBURG — The first week of negotiations between the local that represents the workers at the Marathon Petroleum refinery in Catlettsburg and Marathon did not result in a settlement in the almost seven-week-long strike.

“This week wasn’t too good,” Dave Martin, vice president of USW Local 8-719, said. “We didn’t make any headway.”

The two sides, with a federal mediator, met three days last week at the Ashland Plaza Hotel, five days after the national oil workers strike was settled.

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However, the Catlettsburg union said issues of safety and outsourcing had not been settled locally.

At this past week’s sessions, the local offered to drop many of its proposals and return to the contract extension made in January to the 2012 agreement.

“They rejected it,” Martin said. “They said we were too far along in the process to do that.”

On Monday at 8 p.m. the oil workers will have a candlelight vigil at the main gate of the refinery marking the 10th anniversary of the explosion at the Texas City Refinery, owned by BP, killing 15 workers and injuring close to 200.

Right now there is no date for the two sides to go back to the table.

“As it has throughout these negotiations, and since the strike began, Marathon Petroleum Company remains available and willing to meet with the Union to negotiate an agreement at our USW represented facilities,” Chuck Rice, Marathon spokesman said.

“We have been in contact with the union and will continue discussions to address local issues now that the national pattern settlement has been resolved.”