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Texas refinery workers strike over unsafe work conditions

Refinery workers in Texas and several other states are continuing efforts to negotiate a union contract that ensures better workplace safety conditions. On Feb. 1, when the previous contract expired, workers walked out of facilities, and several hundred recently rallied alongside family members outside the headquarters of Shell Oil Co. in Houston.

The main issue in the strike is workplace safety. On Feb. 4 negotiators for the United Steelworkers union rejected a proposal from Shell that negotiators said failed to address safety problems such as inadequate training programs and dangerous fatigue standards.

At the rally in Houston, the president of USW Local 13-1 said that when he started working in the industry, he went through an apprenticeship and his skills were tested. Now, he said, management puts workers on the job without the proper training.

Union negotiators have also emphasized the dangers of not giving refinery workers enough time off to be fresh on the job. Workplace fatigue in the oil and gas industry can have catastrophic consequences for workers and their families.

You can read more about the ongoing strike in a recent news article.

Refinery workers know their jobs are dangerous, and to do these jobs safely you have to be properly trained. Lack of training and failure to implement effective safety policies are common causes of accidents in Texas workplaces. When these failures result in injury, workers and their families may need to take legal action to receive the full measure of compensation for medical bills, rehabilitation, lost work time and other costs resulting from the injury.

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