The 2015 US oil workers strike

Marathon workers in Galveston Bay, Texas reject USW-company sellout contract

By Jessica Goldstein, 22 February 2019

The overwhelming “no” vote by oil workers at Marathon Petroleum in Galveston Bay, Texas reflects growing worker militancy in the face of the continuing attacks on living standards.

As Friday contract deadline approaches, USW keeps 30,000 oil workers in the dark

By Jessica Goldstein, 31 January 2019

On the eve of contract deadlines for 30,000 oil and chemical workers in the US, the United Steelworkers union is colluding with oil corporations behind closed doors to prepare a sellout contract.

Union shuts down last remaining oil refinery strike in the US

By Tom Hall and Jerry White, 25 June 2015

After nearly five months, the United Steelworkers wore down oil refinery workers in Galveston, Texas, completing the union’s betrayal and defeat of the 2015 strike.

Former BP executive acquitted of charges from 2010 oil spill

By Tom Hall, 8 June 2015

The acquittal of David Rainey means that not a single BP executive will have been held accountable for the worst environmental disaster in American history.

Defying USW, striking US oil workers continue to resist company demands

By Jerry White, 22 May 2015

Workers at Marathon’s Galveston Bay, Texas refinery overwhelmingly defeated an agreement pushed by the United Steelworkers and a federal mediator.

USW pushes through sellout contracts at Indiana and Texas oil refineries

By Marcus Day, 16 May 2015

Facing isolation imposed by the union, oil workers voted to accept contracts at BP and LyondellBasell, while workers at Marathon’s Galveston Bay refinery will vote Monday.

BP and Steelworkers union reach sellout deal to end three-month Indiana refinery strike

By Marcus Day, 5 May 2015

Even as it rewards its executives and shareholders, BP has repeatedly claimed that it must cut costs and impose harsh working conditions to remain competitive.

Striking Houston-area refinery workers reject “last, best” contract offers

By Tom Hall, 20 April 2015

LyondellBasell will begin unilaterally imposing the terms of a contract that includes huge givebacks on overtime pay.

More layoffs as global oil price slump continues

By Niles Williamson, 18 April 2015

The world’s largest oilfield service company, Schlumberger, announced this week that as a result of declining oil production it will cut 11,000 jobs worldwide, bringing the firm’s total layoffs so far this year to 20,000.

Oil giants and USW seek concessions at last refineries still on strike

By Marcus Day, 13 April 2015

As the oil companies insist there is no money to improve working conditions or wages, last week Shell announced a $70 billion takeover of the natural gas company BG.

USW continues betrayal of remaining oil refinery strikers

By Tom Hall, 6 April 2015

The United Steelworkers union pushed through a sellout contract at the striking Marathon refinery in Kentucky last Friday, further isolating workers at the remaining four struck facilities.

Indiana “solidarity” rally promotes Democrats, covers up USW betrayal of oil workers’ strike

By George Marlowe and Jerry White, 1 April 2015

The March 27 event sponsored by the United Steelworkers and AFL-CIO was billed as a “solidarity” rally for 1,100 workers on strike at the BP Whiting, Indiana refinery for nearly two months.

Death of Louisiana refinery worker exposes USW treachery in oil strike

By Tom Hall, 31 March 2015

The death at Valero’s St. Charles refinery occurred as the United Steelworkers began winding down the strike at Motiva’s Norco refinery, which lies directly across the street.

BP workers in Indiana denounce USW isolation of oil workers strike

By George Marlowe, 26 March 2015

Workers at BP’s Whiting, Indiana plant and a handful of other refineries remain on strike, as the USW works to quickly end the walkout at Shell, Tesoro and other companies.

USW imposes sellout, seeks to wind down remaining oil strikes

By Jerry White, 24 March 2015

Strikes continue at BP, Marathon, LyondellBasell and Tesoro, as the United Steelworkers seeks to impose its pro-company deal on oil workers throughout the country.

Striking Houston-area oil workers denounce USW betrayal

By E.P. Bannon and Tom Hall, 23 March 2015

Workers at the LyondellBasell refinery expressed frustration and anger at the United Steelworkers for deliberately isolating their struggle.

International Socialist Organization hails USW backstabbing of oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White and Kevin Reed, 21 March 2015

The ISO does not even pretend to criticize the USW, which from the beginning of the strike worked to prevent it from developing into a broader movement of the working class.

Striking US oil workers explain issues at stake in their struggle

By Jerry White and Zac Corrigan, 20 March 2015

Oil workers who remain on strike at the Tesoro Carson refinery near Los Angeles, California and the BP Husky refinery near Toledo, Ohio spoke to the World Socialist Web Site.

USW sellout leaves oil workers at mercy of energy giants

By Jerry White, 19 March 2015

The sellout deal signed by the United Steelworkers has opened the door for the companies to break up the national agreement and reverse the past gains of oil workers.

USW isolates remaining oil worker strikes

By Jerry White, 18 March 2015

Oil workers continue to walk the picket lines at refineries across the US despite the efforts of the United Steelworkers to shut down the month-and-a-half long strike.

The oil workers’ strike and the return of the class struggle in the US

By Jerry White, 17 March 2015

The oil refinery strike has pitted 30,000 workers against some of the richest and most politically connected corporations in the world.

Australian workers call for support for striking US oil workers

By our correspondents, 17 March 2015

Workers and young people back the six-week strike and condemn the United Steelworkers union for trying to ram through a sellout agreement.

Reject USW-Shell sellout deal!

For a general strike to defend jobs, safety and living standards!

By Jerry White, 16 March 2015

The rotten agreement reached by the unions and Shell is not why workers walked on the picket lines for a month and a half, sacrificing their paychecks and health benefits.

Steelworkers union pushes local contracts following national deal to end US oil strike

By our reporters, 14 March 2015

Picketing by oil workers will continue until agreements are passed at each separate refinery, with workers who do not accept the terms left completely isolated.

Walkout at Louisiana gas terminal highlights steel union’s isolation of refinery strikers

By Tom Hall, 14 March 2015

The March 6 walkout by over 1,000 non-union contract employees revealed the potential for refinery strikers to link up with workers throughout the industry.

USW reaches sellout deal, moves to shut down oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 13 March 2015

Any deal reached on the basis of blocking the full mobilization of oil workers against the intransigence of the energy giants can be nothing but a miserable betrayal.

Five years since refinery disaster at Anacortes, Washington

USW “partnership” with oil companies and Democrats undermines strike and worker safety

By Diana Green, 12 March 2015

The crippling of the oil workers’ strike by the USW is the outcome of decades of labor-management collaboration and support for the big-business Democratic Party.

SEP pamphlet on US oil strike now available

12 March 2015

This pamphlet is vital reading to gain a deeper understanding of this significant movement of the working class in the heart of world capitalism. It contains articles reviewing the political lessons and historical background to the strike.

USW union sabotages support for striking US oil workers

By Jerry White, 11 March 2015

The USW has concentrated its energy not on defending workers against the energy conglomerates, but on threatening and harassing reporters from the World Socialist Web Site.

As impasse continues, USW blocks wider strike by oil workers

By Jerry White and Alan Gilman, 10 March 2015

At the massive Tesoro refinery in Carson, California, near Los Angeles, strikers said they were fighting for all workers and against years of eroding wages and work conditions.

The phony internationalism of the United Steelworkers

A warning to US oil workers on South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers

By Thabo Seseane Jr., 10 March 2015

Last month’s tour of Houston picket lines by officials from South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers underscored the anti-working class character of the United Steelworkers.

Oil workers express growing discontent at limited strike

By David Brown, 9 March 2015

The USW has constrained the extent of the oil workers’ strike as the companies are preparing to bring in full-time strikebreakers.

Refining sector in US producing windfall profits for oil companies

By E.P. Bannon, 7 March 2015

While the oil giants have pointed to the fall in crude prices to justify their hard line against striking oil workers, they continue to make vast profits through their refining operations.

The United Steelworkers’ intimate ties to Wall Street

By Shannon Jones, 6 March 2015

The USW boasts of close relations with the Carlyle Group, a private equity firm that profits off the restructuring and downsizing of distressed companies.

Defend the US oil workers!

By Jerry White, 5 March 2015

Encouraged by the treachery of the United Steelworkers union, global oil giant Shell has announced that it will train strikebreakers to resume full production at its Texas and Louisiana plants.

Video: Contract worker speaks on safety issues in US oil strike

By Jerry White and Seraphine Collins, 5 March 2015

A contractor with extensive experience in oil refineries speaks on the long hours, dangerous conditions and other issues that have led to the largest strike in the oil industry since 1980.

As strike passes one-month mark

The way forward for oil workers

the Socialist Equality Party, 3 March 2015

As the strike by oil workers in the US enters its second month, it is necessary to draw a balance sheet of the key strategic and political issues at stake.

Striking BP oil workers in Indiana speak out

By George Marlowe and Jeff Lussane, 3 March 2015

Workers at BP’s refinery in Whiting, Indiana called for an all-out strike by 30,000 USW oil refinery employees.

As strike passes one-month mark

Steelworkers union blocks broadening of oil workers’ struggle

By Jerry White, 2 March 2015

The USW, desperate to head off a confrontation with the Obama administration, is ignoring growing demands from oil workers for a national strike.

Louisiana oil workers call for expansion of refinery strike

By E.P. Bannon and Tom Hall, 2 March 2015

The walkout in Louisiana demonstrates the militancy and resolve of the working class in the American Deep South.

Wisconsin unions hold rally against “right-to-work” legislation

By Niles Williamson, 2 March 2015

The union-sanctioned protest was markedly smaller than in 2011, when tens of thousands of workers and students filled the streets of the state capital to oppose right-wing legislation.

As US oil strike reaches one month, companies sit on billions in profits

By Kevin Martinez, 28 February 2015

The companies are among the most profitable multinational corporations in the world, with deep ties to the Obama administration and the federal government.

USW blocks way forward for striking oil workers

By Jerry White, 27 February 2015

In a “Letter to USW Oil Workers,” USW President Gerard made no attempt to explain the union’s selective strike policy or present a strategy against the intransigence of the oil giants.

Talks remain suspended as US oil workers continue strike

By Jerry White, 26 February 2015

With US oil workers locked in their biggest battle in 35 years, the United Steelworkers union and the AFL-CIO continue to isolate their strike.

A photo essay on the US oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 26 February 2015

Some 6,500 oil workers are on strike at refineries in Texas, California, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Washington state. This is a new collection of photos taken on the picket lines.

The US oil strike and the international struggles of the working class

By Jerry White, 25 February 2015

The struggles of oil and dockworkers in the US and strikes by German and Australian rail workers point to the need for an international strategy for the working class.

Striking oil workers from Kentucky, Ohio and Louisiana speak out

By Seraphine Collins and Tom Hall, 25 February 2015

As the strike by oil refinery workers entered its fourth week, workers remained defiant in the face of intransigence by the oil giants.

US oil strike highlights sacrifice of workers’ safety to corporate profit

By Jerry White, 24 February 2015

As the strike by oil workers enters its fourth week, the energy conglomerates are refusing to budge on demands for improved safety and working conditions.

US oil workers strike spreads to more plants in Texas and Louisiana

By Jerry White, 23 February 2015

There is a growing sentiment among oil workers for a unified struggle against the companies—a sentiment that the unions are determined to contain and suppress.

Auto workers speak out in support of oil strike

By our reporters, 23 February 2015

Ford workers in Chicago and Chrysler workers outside Detroit called for expanding the strike to other industries.

Obama administration forces five-year agreement on West Coast dockworkers

By Dan Conway, 23 February 2015

The main goal of the port operators has been to push for even greater casualization of the labor force, aimed at the reintroduction of the notorious “shape up” system.

Cleanup continues after West Virginia oil train explosion

By Clement Daly, 23 February 2015

Existing government regulations are woefully inadequate given the new reality of ever-longer trains pulling massive shipments of volatile oil through towns and cities.

Oil refinery workers denounce USW treachery, call for national strike

By Gabriel Black, 21 February 2015

On social media, striking oil refinery workers have expressed overwhelming support for a national strike and anger towards the divisive policy of the United Steelworkers union.

USW forced to reject another contract offer as oil workers press for national strike

By Thomas Gaist, 20 February 2015

The growing determination of oil workers has made it impossible for the United Steelworkers union, up to this point, to bring back another sellout deal.

Explosion rocks California refinery as oil strike continues

By Thomas Gaist, 19 February 2015

There is widespread support among workers at Exxon Mobil’s Torrance, California refinery—where the explosion took place Wednesday—to join the 5,200 oil workers already on strike.

A warning to US oil workers: The United Steelworkers’ record of betrayal

By Shannon Jones, 18 February 2015

Over the past three decades, the USW has overseen the betrayal of scores of strikes and the decimation of workers’ jobs, health care and pensions.

US oil strike enters third week with corporations refusing to budge on wages, safety conditions

By David Brown, 17 February 2015

Refinery workers are locked in a bitter confrontation with the oil conglomerates, with no new talks scheduled until Wednesday.

Obama administration intervenes against West Coast dock workers

By Jerry White, 16 February 2015

The White House is intervening entirely on behalf of the shipping and terminal owners and, more generally, the corporate and financial elite in the US.

Oil workers on strike denounce poor safety and work conditions at US refineries

By our reporters, 14 February 2015

As the strike of US oil workers enters its second week, the WSWS spoke to picketers at the Tesoro Golden Eagle Refinery in Martinez, California.

Thirty-five years since the nationwide US refinery strike

By David Brown and Charles Abelard, 14 February 2015

Thirty-five years ago, US oil refinery workers carried out a nationwide strike, breaking through wage guidelines set by the Carter administration.

As US oil strike nears end of second week

Port owners lock out West Coast dock workers

By Jerry White, 13 February 2015

Coinciding with punitive actions against striking oil workers, the lockout of dock workers is part of an offensive against workers’ demands for improved wages and conditions.

As talks are suspended

Ohio BP-Husky workers express support for national oil strike

By Eric London, 12 February 2015

Workers at the BP-Husky refinery outside of Toledo, Ohio spoke on working conditions and the need to broaden their 12-day strike against the world’s richest oil companies.

Oil workers remain determined as USW resumes talks to sell out strike

By E.P. Bannon, 11 February 2015

The resumption of backroom talks between union executives and the oil giants is aimed at ending the strike and pushing through a sellout agreement for 30,000 oil workers.

A photo slideshow of the US oil workers’ strike

11 February 2015

Over 5,000 oil workers are on strike at refineries in California, Texas, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Washington state. The following is a collection of photos from the picket lines as well as photos from the 1980 strike.

The political significance of the US oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White, 10 February 2015

The strike is a harbinger of a renewal of open class struggle in the United States with far-reaching implications in the US and internationally.

Oil strike shows growing combativeness of US workers

By Jerry White, 9 February 2015

After decades of declining living standards—even as corporate profits and share prices have soared—the oil refinery strike heralds an emerging “wages push” by American workers.

“If we all took a stand together we would be stronger”

Striking US oil refinery workers speak out

By our reporters, 9 February 2015

WSWS reporting teams spoke to refinery workers on strike throughout the United States.

As walkout spreads to Indiana, Ohio BP refineries

White House urges USW to strangle oil workers’ strike

By Jerry White and E.P. Bannon, 7 February 2015

The Obama administration is concerned that the USW could lose control and the struggle could inspire other sections of workers into action against deteriorating wages and working conditions.

Falling oil prices trigger new layoffs, budget cuts in Louisiana and Texas

By E.P. Bannon, 5 February 2015

Low oil prices have sparked layoffs and pay cuts throughout all sectors of industry.

US oil industry strike enters fourth day as companies resist wage and safety demands

By Dan Conway and Jerry White, 4 February 2015

While workers are looking for a serious struggle, the United Steelworkers has limited the job action to largely symbolic picketing at nine out of 65 unionized refineries.

Oil giants take hard line against US workers on strike

By Jerry White, 3 February 2015

Shell and other international oil firms are opposing workers’ demands for improved wages and safety conditions.

Limited strike called at US oil refineries as national contract expires

By Jeff Lusanne, 2 February 2015

The United Steelworkers union called a selective strike at nine oil refineries after the labor agreement covering 30,000 oil industry workers expired Sunday morning.