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Striking Richmond Chevron steelworkers replaced, as negotiations stall

on March 23, 2022

Steelworkers at Chevron’s Richmond refinery are on the third day of a strike reportedly over wages and hours.

About 500 workers represented by United Steelworkers Local 5 went on strike Monday. A day before the strike, the company replaced those employees with non-union members.

“The transition was handled with professionalism and respect on all sides, in response to the union’s plan to begin the strike at midnight,” Chevron spokesperson Tyler Kruzich said in an email.

In a news release posted Sunday, USW said its workers have been on the job without a contract since Feb. 1 and that on Feb. 25, the union had reached an agreement with the oil industry on wages and working conditions. But each of USW’s 200 units bargain locally before a contract is ratified, the release noted.

“It’s disappointing that Chevron would walk away from the table instead of bargaining in good faith with its dedicated work force,” Mike Smith, chair of the USW’s National Oil Bargaining Program, said in the release.

“USW members continued to report for work throughout the pandemic so our nation could meet its energy needs,” he said. “They deserve a fair contract that reflects their sacrifice.”

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In a statement, the company called its offer fair and competitive, adding that the union rejected two tentative agreements. The statement said six of Chevron’s nine USW-represented sites have ratified agreements “with the same pattern wages and terms,” including the nearby Martinez refinery. It said the union’s demands in Richmond “exceeded what the company believes to be reasonable.”

Reuters reported that Local 5, citing the higher cost of living in the Bay Area, asked for an additional 5% pay hike over the 12% increase reached in the national agreement. Reuters said Local 5 also asked Chevron to increase staffing so its workers wouldn’t have to work 60 hours or more a week.

The Richmond plant has been refining oil on the banks of San Francisco Bay for 120 years, and today produces gasoline, diesel and jet fuel. According to its website, the refinery produces about 20% of Northern California’s gasoline. With more than 1,000 employees, Chevron is Richmond’s largest employer. But the refinery also has a history of air and water pollution that has made its relationship with the community contentious.

In October, the community raised alarms when the refinery belched heavy smoke in two flaring events and a small fire occurred at the plant.

USW has said no new negotiation sessions have been scheduled between its representatives and the company. Chevron said it is looking forward to continuing discussions.


  1. greg on March 27, 2022 at 2:03 am

    12% pay hike?
    That’s an average of a 3% raise per year.
    Since management took over the plants on Sunday March 20th, they’ve crashed multiple plants and flared multiple times per day.
    With all of the flaring events caught by news cameras and posted on social media, why haven’t there been any news stories about how badly management has mis-managed these plants?

    • Waaaambulance on March 28, 2022 at 9:30 pm

      Because you are full of it. They have not been dating multiple times per day and let’s not talk about the massive flaring events that take place when you guys were actually working. Don’t think people are sitting around shedding a tear for people making six figures complaining that there 12% pay increase over 4 years isn’t good enough. Southern California was fine it so boohoo

      • Emil on April 8, 2022 at 3:26 pm

        Not sure what “dating” is but you’re obviously a Chevron mouthpiece.
        For the record, we reported 3 flaring events the Monday after management formally took over the refinery. Not only operations, but it is captured in the background of the newscast at 7:30am that Monday.
        As far as when “we” were on the job, how much is management incentivized to push these antiquated plants to and past capacity? Yet, now, when management is running these plants, they are below 50% capacity and still facing flaring and having to shut down Jet hydrotreaters due to incompetence.
        In terms of Southern California accepting this agreement, Chevron has leveraged the recent Exxon Texas strike as a threat to those that consider striking. This is not a signal that a fair deal has been offered.
        How much is management being paid in Richmond as a Bay area cost of living increase? You try to paint us as greedy, but what about management that sat at home on a laptop for the last two years while operations were considered essential during the worst of the pandemic—how much did management get paid as a Bay area cost of living increase yet sat at home on Zoom meetings.
        Chevron has millions to pay PR people like you, but not enough for a 1.25% yearly increase above pattern for its bay area operators.

      • Jim kelly on May 18, 2022 at 9:58 pm

        How much has. Chevron gas gone up as it April it approaches $7 ? 5 percent would be 35 cents and how are Chevron profits doing?

  2. Justin on April 4, 2022 at 11:09 am

    How do we know its a four year contract? Did I miss it in the article?

    • Emil on April 8, 2022 at 3:42 pm

      Yes, it was glossed over in the article. The agreement is 4 years at an average of 3% per year. 1.25% additional per year is what would be agreeable. Think about that…1.25% In the bay area, how much did toll increase? Gas prices? Pretty petty for a multi BILLION dollar multinational who pays their shareholders a dividend of around 4%.

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