Over 500 Workers at California Chevron Refinery Go on Strike

by Samantha Whidden

As Americans continue to deal with high oil and gas prices, more than 500 workers at California’s Chevron Refinery have gone on strike. According to Fox News, the strike kicked off after Chevron refused to return to the negotiation table with workers to discuss a contract dispute. However, Chevron revealed in a statement that it has negotiated with the union for months. It also believes a contract offered was fair and addressed the union’s concerns. 

What to Know:

  • California Chevron Refinery workers are now on strike over a contract dispute. The strike came just after Chevron refused to return to the negotiation table.
  • The United Steelworkers Union revealed that the Chevron strike is only affecting the refinery in the city of Richmond, California.
  • Chevron stated that the refinery operations will continue despite the strike. The company also states that it does not anticipate any supply chain issues.

The United Steelworkers Union shared that the strike is now affecting the refinery in Richmond, California. The strike began at 12:01 a.m. on Monday (March 21st). Meanwhile, despite the strike, Chevron said that the refinery operation will remain unaffected. It also doesn’t anticipate any supply issues. However, Fox News reveals that if the strike were to shut down the refinery, that could negatively impact gas prices in the Golden State. 

The worker’s union also reported that it had negotiated a national agreement for oil workers and working conditions. But around 200 individual bargaining units still had to negotiate local issues. Chevron also said that in Richmond the union’s demands exceeded what it believes to be reasonable. The demands also moved beyond what was agreed to as part of the national pattern bargaining agreement. 

The worker’s union went on to add that the old contract with Chevron in Richmond expired on February 1st. Workers have also been reporting to their jobs on a rolling 24-hour extension. 

United Steelworkers Union Speaks Out about California Chevron Refinery Strike 

The Hill reports that the United Steelworkers Union’s National Oil Bargaining Program chair, Mike Smith, issued a statement about the strike at the Chevron Refinery in California. “[United Steelworkers] members continued to report for work throughout the pandemic. So our nation could meet its energy needs. They deserve a fair contract that reflects their sacrifice.”

Reuters also revealed that the last strike at the 245,000 barrel-per-day Chevron refinery, took place in 1980. It was part of a nationwide walkout. United Steelworkers Union Local 5 First Vice President B.K. White also said that no new contracts are currently planned. He also said that “We are far apart” in reaching an agreement. “It’s hard to negotiate when one side sees flesh and bone. And the other side sees the bottom line.”

The United Steelworkers Union local also asked for a 5% pay increase above what was agreed last month. The reasoning is due to the higher cost of living in the San Francisco Bay Area.