HOUSTON, April 27 The United Steelworkers union
filed a charge with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board
against Lyondell Basell Industries for declaring an
impasse in negotiations with striking Houston refinery workers,
the union said on Monday.
Lyondell declared the impasse on April 14 following the
rejection of its "last, best and final" contract offer by
striking workers from USW Local 13-227. The company implemented
the final contract offer as work rules at the refinery on April
"We provided the company with new proposals that made
significant movement to resolve the disputed contract issues and
repeatedly asked the company to return to the bargaining table,
but they refused to bargain," District 13 Representative Jim
Lefton said in statement on Monday.
A Lyondell representative was not immediately available to
comment on the charge.
The union alleges that by declaring impasse, implementing
the final offer at the refinery and refusing to return to
negotiations that the company has failed to bargain in good
faith. This is the 12th charge filed by the union against
Lyondell, according to the statement.
"Lyondell used the declaration of impasse to bully its
workers to accept a substandard contract that does not stop the
company from working its employees to the point of exhaustion,"
A federal mediator has been unable to bring Lyondell back to
the negotiating table, the union said.
Before the impasse was declared, talks between the two sides
were primarily stuck on the question of premium pay, which
allows workers to simultaneously receive several pay
differentials for extensive overtime, union officials have said.
Hourly workers began the walkout on Feb. 1 at the Lyondell
refinery, which has remained in operation using temporary
Lyondell workers walked off their jobs as part of the
largest strike by U.S. refinery and chemical plant workers in 35
years. The job action spread to 15 plants, including 12
refineries, which account for one-fifth of national capacity.
An agreement on national issues was reached between the USW
and U.S. refinery owners on March 12. By mid-April workers at 10
plants had returned to their jobs.
Workers at five plants, including Lyondell's Houston
refinery, have remained on picket lines in contentious talks
over local issues.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Dan Grebler)