Workers Strike at Richmond Refinery


Workers Strike at Richmond Refinery
Striking operators picketing Monday outside the Chevron Corp. refinery in Richmond, Calif. © AP Photo/Eric Risberg

More than 500 members of the United Steelworkers union went on strike Monday at Chevron’s refinery in Richmond, California, which has an API Group II and Group III base oil plant. Delivery of products to customers continues, the company said.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 5 voted down Chevron’s most recent proposal for a contract covering more than 500 workers at the Richmond refinery, according to a March 20 USW press release. The USW said that it had urged Chevron to return to the bargaining table but that the company had refused. The workers then gave notice of their intent to begin its strike on March 21 at 12:01 a.m. The previous contract between Chevron and USW Local 5 expired Feb. 1, and members had been working on a rolling 24-hour extension.

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“Chevron Richmond continues to deliver key energy products to our Bay Area customers, thanks to our well-trained workforce,” Tyler Kruzich, Chevron senior advisor, external affairs, told Lube Report on Tuesday in an emailed statement. “We are focusing on safe and reliable operations and are looking forward to continuing discussions with USW so that all our colleagues can return to work.”

Mike Smith, chair of the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program, said in a news release: “USW 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.”

The USW said it reached a pattern agreement with the oil industry on wages and working conditions on Feb. 25 but noted that each of the approximately 200 participating units also bargain over local issues before ratifying their individual contracts.

The Richmond refinery has a base oil plant with 20,700 barrels per day Group II and 1,000 b/d Group III production capacity, according to Lubes’n’Greases Guide to Global Base Oil Refining.

During the 1970s and 1980s, according to the refinery’s website, it was “virtually transformed” to produce higher-value, higher-volume fuels and base oils and to comply with increasingly stringent state and federal policies.