Chevron said in a written statement that the strike should not affect gas prices: “Chevron Richmond is fully prepared to continue normal operations to safely and reliably supply the products consumers need. We do not anticipate any enforcement problems. of reliable delivery of products to the market. Chevron remains committed to providing safe operations for our employees and communities.”
Workers accused the refinery of bringing in outside workers to replace them while on strike.
“This is a complex facility,” said USW Local 5 First Vice President BK White. “We train a lot and somehow they came up with enough people that we’ve never seen before to run the factory. We pray they’re safe there.”
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Some flaring was visible at the refinery on Monday morning. Strike workers wondered if the flaring was the result of untrained workers at the helm.
Chevron declined to answer questions about whether the new workers were at fault, but did write in an email: “Refinery workers worked quickly to minimize and stop flaring. A Community Warning System Level 1 — one of the lowest on the scale — was issued. – issued to keep residents informed. Flares are highly regulated safety devices and are an important part of keeping the refinery running safely.”
The USW union reached a national agreement for a 12% pay increase, but the local chapter is asking for 5% more on top of that increase due to the high cost of living here in the Bay Area.
“The cost of living in the Bay Area, as any worker knows, has risen to the point where it is difficult to live,” White said. “Our workers have to live outside for 45 minutes to an hour. We’re just asking for a little relief.”
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He also said, “A rise in the cost of living for the Bay Area is not for us to get rich. Our medical service, Kaiser, is up 23 percent this year and the company hasn’t contributed a cent to it.”
In a written statement, Chevron responded, “We believe our contract offering is fair, competitive and addresses the concerns of the USW. However, the union’s demands exceeded what the company deems reasonable.”
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Union representatives say there are currently no plans to return to the negotiating table.
The striking members make up about a third of the workers at the refinery; they are lab technicians, warehouse workers and maintain machines.
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