HOUSTON (Reuters) – LyondellBasell Industries and a United Steelworkers (USW) local union began talks on Thursday for a new contract for 485 workers at the company’s Houston oil refinery, one day after employees rallied outside that plant over a lack of negotiations, according to the company and union.
Marcos Velez, USW International representative, said the union was expecting the company to propose cuts, without elaborating on the type of reductions expected.
“The union and the company have met and while the union remains committed to reaching a deal, the company’s initial proposals are concessionary and far from acceptable to the union,” Velez said.
The contract between LyondellBasell and USW local 13-227 expires on Feb. 1.
The agreement on local issues will be combined with a national contract to be negotiated in January between USW International representatives and Shell Oil Co, the U.S. arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which is the lead company for refinery and chemical plant owners.
The national agreement sets the pattern for pay, benefits and health and safety issues that must be incorporated in the contracts at each location where USW members work.
The national agreement also expires on Feb. 1.
Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Lisa Shumaker