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USW Members, Supporters Protest at Husky Energy Headquarters in Calgary; Demand a Fair Contract at Lima, Ohio Refinery

CALGARY, Alberta, Sept. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- After a week of leafleting across Canada at Husky gas stations, a company office, a Husky refinery and the Lloydminster Heavy Oil Trade Show, United Steelworkers (USW) members and their supporters protested this morning at Husky Energy headquarters here to demand the company bargain fairly for a contract at its Lima, Ohio, refinery.

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USW Local 624 members from Lima engaged this past week in a solidarity tour of Canada with the support of USW Canadian locals and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) union from Canada.

Meanwhile, negotiations have continued this week between Local 624 and Husky Lima Refining negotiators. Talks were scheduled for this morning.

Disagreement continues over national and local bargaining items. Husky presented a settlement offer earlier this week, but the union rejected it because it did not meet the safety standards adopted by other oil companies.

"Despite what Husky has been saying to the media, its settlement offer does not meet the National Oil Bargaining pattern agreement," said USW International Vice President Gary Beevers, who heads National Oil Bargaining.

The pattern was set in talks between the USW and the oil industry and was placed thereafter on local union bargaining tables. This pattern includes establishment of a process safety representative position and a fatigue standard that covers worker fatigue from working too many hours on the job.

"Husky's proposals on these safety items do not meet the pattern. The company also does not determine the national pattern; it has already been set by the industry. We will not let this company break the pattern and the pattern bargaining process we have done for almost 50 years.

"Once the company meets the pattern and addresses the local issues we can bring its offer to the membership for a vote. Until then, we will continue to negotiate.

"It's not that difficult to meet the pattern and if the company does so it will find it helps them operate better and more safely in the long run," Beevers added.

One of the main local issues concerns the ability of Husky workers to spend quality time with their families. Husky wants to eliminate longstanding arrangements the local negotiated at no cost or inconvenience to the company that would allow workers to have vacation flexibility and the ability to swap shifts and cover for someone coming in late or leaving early.

Local 624 members walked off their jobs May 25 in an unfair labor practice strike. The local has filed National Labor Relations Board charges alleging over 35 unfair labor practice allegations related to Husky's conduct at the bargaining table and with the membership—conduct which also has hampered progress in negotiations.

Local 624 represents over 235 workers at the Husky Lima, Ohio refinery. The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, renewable and atomic energy, plus the service and government sectors.

Contact: Lynne Hancock, USW, 615-828-6169, [email protected] 
Shawn Gilchrist, USW, 412-865-7350, [email protected]

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

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