Three years ago, members of the United Steelworkers (USW) went to the bargaining table with the big oil companies to negotiate changes to health and safety programs at oil refineries that would keep workers safe. Across the board, the industry said, “No.” They weren’t interested in bargaining meaningful and enforceable improvements to refinery safety.
In the next three years, 18 oil workers died on the job, dozens of others suffered life-altering injuries and countless others have likely suffered from chronic occupational diseases due to work-related exposures. It’s become pretty apparent that health and safety in the oil sector is out of control.
This month, the 30,000 members of the USW in the oil sector are returning to the bargaining table with the oil industry. They’re not willing to let another 18 workers die on the job.