Saturday, November 14, 2009

COP Action for Ponca Refinery

Anticipated Forthcoming COP Nationwide Council Action in Support of USW Local 13-857, Ponca City


Members of USW Local 13-555,


You may have heard rumors in the plant of possibly shutting down all non-contractual work activities in support of Ponca City. At this point our Brothers and Sisters in Ponca City have worked since March 31, 2009 on a rolling 24hr extension.  Both parties continue to meet on a sporadic basis, with no obvious progress.


At this time the members of the COP Nationwide Council are discussing what actions to take in support of Ponca City.  The Billings group, USW Local 11-470, has issued a letter to their management stating that if significant progress is not seen following the scheduled meetings between Ponca City USW Local 13-857 and COP Management in early December they will discontinue participation in non-contractual work activities. At this time, this action is widely supported by the other COP Union sites with which we have been in contact. We hope that progress can be made and none of these actions will become necessary.  It is our intention that if there is no significant progress in Ponca City our site, here in Lake Charles, will comply with any Council request in support of Ponca City.


Management is aware of this possible pending action and we will get more information out as our path becomes clearer.  Until further notice, feel free to contact any member of your local Workman’s Committee for additional information or clarifications. 


In Solidarity,

Leon Royer

Chairman, Workman’s Committee






Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Upcoming Tuesday Meeting

This will be an important meeting. We will be special called meeting for the nomination for International Officers. Also on the 8th, from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m.

We will be voting on the 2/3 verses 5/4 shifts. If you are in operations, you need to vote on this important item.

Vote on Shift Choice at LCMC

We will vote Tuesday (8 September 2009) on whether to stay on the 4/5 shift or switch to the 2/3 shift. The vote will be from 6AM to 8PM. Tuesday is also the day of our regular monthly meetings.
If you are unable to vote on Tuesday, you we will have absantee voting on Thursday and Friday (3rd and 4th) of this week. Absantee votes can be cast from 1PM to 5PM on both days.
See you Tuesday.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

You Said Yes

It's all over. You have voted to approve the new contract. I will post more information as I get it.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Here It Is

The first thing that I hope you will look at is this letter from Leon. It is a good introduction for what follows.

Here is the Tentative Agreement Package.

If you want to cast an Absentee vote, you can find out how by going HERE.


Monday, June 15, 2009

Special Meeting Called

A special meeting has been called June 22. It will be held at the Westlake American Legion Hall. Click on the ling for more information: HERE

The local has also scheduled a vote on the proposed contract for 25 June. The vote will be at the hall. You can get more information on the vote HERE

There will be more information as it comes in.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday 12 June

Leon called and said that the company and local have completed discussions on all 49 proposals.

I don't have the additional TA's because I am back in my unit, but I do hope to get those items and get them on the blog by early next week.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

9 June update

We have three new tentative agreements (TA) with the company for you to check out.

The first TA has to do with "unit stability" and bidding. Hou can read the changes agreed to HERE.

The second TA has to do with bumping rights. The unions chief concern was to protect plant seniority and that was done. You can read the tentatively agreed upon language HERE.

The last item on which a TA was signed off on was on the Me TOO policy. YOu can read that TA HERE.

More information will be posted as it comes in.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

4 June 2009

Today was a productive day. We signed tentative agreements on 3 items. We also discussed company item #14 (7th day required by contract). Their proposal would have done away with most 7th days when working a normal 5/4 with overtime. The committee made a counter proposal. After that, the discussion was tabled until a a later date.

Here are links to items tentatively agreed on today:
Union item #4
Union item #5
Union item #14

We also signed off on union item #6 as well and I will try to have that uploaded for you to be able to check it out.

Have a good night and remember your committee that they may be wise in all that they do.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

3 June 2009

The union and the company met on Monday and "verbally" agreed on a couple of issues, but did not sign off on any tentative agreements. On Tuesdays and today (Wednesday) your representatives meet at the hall and worked on language to present to the company dealing with union proposals #4 (Assignment Outside of Bargaining Unit), #5 (Bargaining Unit Employees Assignment Outside of LCR), #6 (Trainee and Utility Helper Language), and #14 (Bumped Trainees Retain Previous Service Time).

The committee also spent a good deal of time discussing Union proposal #10, which concerns the ODM position. The union wants the duties of the ODM position clearly defined, because it is being worked in very different ways throughout the refinery.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Laboratory: Tentative Agreement.

Your representatives have spent a great deal of time working on lab issues and have a tentative agreement with the company that restructures the lab, in a way that we believe will make it function better. The tentative agreement is HERE.

Negotiations are on going. Today your committee is working on the wording/language for several items that we and the company have agreed on verbally.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Tentative Agreements

This first tentative agreement will concern operations. It gives operators the ability to cancel "one day vacations" after the schedule has been formally posted. In order to cancel a one day, the individual covering the overtime will have to agree/concur to the cancellation. It is #12 in the unions proposal list. You can read the language on this agreement HERE.

Next is our the modification to the purchased vacation policy, which is #10 on the company's proposal list. They asked for the change because of an admin issue for the folks in Bartlesville. We agreed to replace purchasing a week of vacation with unpaid vacation. The days that you can take off remain the same. You can read this tentative agreement HERE. (NOTE: operators are given "up to" eight hours unpaid vacation if they have 4 or 8 hours vaction/holiday pay left over. That way the operator can take a full 12 hours off)

Company proposal #15 is next. We tentatively agreed to modify the banked holidays also. This too was a company item. Operators (and maintenance personnel that work on holidays) still retain the ability to take holiday's time off at a later date. The difference is, we will be paid holiday pay on the holiday. When we take our holiday time off at another date, it will be an unpaid day off. Again all money remains the same, the change is when the employee is paid for the holiday. The tentative agreement on this item is HERE.

We a changed the language as to when an individual in mechanical will be able to bid (Local proposal #20). That new tentative wording is HERE.

This next issue was brought up by the company (#20) and the union (#19) and it too is mechanical issue. The time it takes to move from 2nd Class to 1st Class craftworker has changed. That tentative agreement is HERE.

Next is exemption language for minimum training for operators working on operator training materials (Union #23). This tentative agreement is HERE.

The next item has to do with #3 on the union list of proposals. The tentative agreement is meant to clarify how operator staffing is to take place if part of a progression is in turnaround and other parts remain live. The PDF document on this tentative agreement is HERE.

We have a tentative agreement about overtime meals (company #22, union #22). Read about his HERE.

Next, company proposal #4, we have agreed to increase the probationary period from 90 days to 180 days. The company asked for a 1 year probation for newly hired operators (which a number of COP sites have). We believed that to be excessive, but did tentatively agree to increase it to 180 days. Wording on this item is HERE.

In union proposal #4, we have several items and we have reached a tentative agreement on one of the issues in the proposal. This tentative agreement deal with hourly employees who take a salary job. It is HERE.

I will add more to this list sometime this evening or tomorrow.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Update 28 May

Negotiations are still going somewhat smoothly. We have had a few issue that have been brought up and tabled, because things were getting bogged down, but we are still making headway and we did get a tentative agreement on a couple of more issues today.

It is our goal to get links to PDF's copies, of the items that have been "tentatively" agreed upon, on the net tomorrow or Saturday, so that our membership can look at each item. That way you will know what your committee is doing.

This is my first time to sit in on negotiations, and it is tedious work. We have five negotiating members on our side (Leon, R.C., Benny, James, and Neal) making our case. The company has Hutton, Geiger (Sp.?), Keating, Livingston, Stoll, and Sumner on their side of the table.

Let me give an example of how this works. Let's say we discuss a proposal from our side, we explain what we want to happen with our proposal, then discuss it with the company in some depth. After clarification and counter clarifications, the company's negotiators will leave the room to discuss the proposal among themselves. After a while they return with their counter proposal, more discussion for clarification and then it is time for our team will leave the room to confer with one another about the companies points. After a good discussion we return and give our position, etc... It is often slow and tedious work.

Thus far, we have signed tentative agreements on 17 of the combined 49 items that the union and company have brought to the table.

The items tentatively agreed to from the company side are numbers 10, 15, 18, 20, 21, 22. The company has agreed to drop item 7 from their list.

On the union side, we have tentative agreements on 3, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25.

With any luck, we will get the tentative agreement up loaded on to the web tomorrow or Saturday. This blog will have links to the each of the agreements, so check back this weekend for those items.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday and Wednesday Negotiations

We spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday hammering out lab issues. A tentative agreement was reached this afternoon on the lab issues, so tomorrow we can move on to other things.

I hope to have more details to tell you tomorrow.


Friday, May 22, 2009

A Letter from Leon

As most of you are aware, there is a very serious situation pertaining to contract negotiations for our brothers and sisters at the Ponca City Refinery. Our fellow union members in Ponca City have been working in a "rolling 24" situation since March 31st of this year when their current contract was due to expire. Although meetings do continue on a sporadic basis, with the assistance of a Federal Mediator, there does not seem to be any progress being made between the company and union negotiators.

There are two very serious issues all union members should be concerned with on the table in Ponca City.

1. Fatigue Policy-the company is insisting on language giving them the right to implement a fatigue policy during the contract without the union having the right to strike. This issue was on the table at all ConocoPhillips sites, which were on date for February 1st. The company had removed this issue from the table when it appeared it would be handled as a NOBP item. This failed to happen so it has popped up at Ponca. The company has known since the BP Amaco explosion in Texas City, that fatigue would someday be an issue (fatigue on the part of the operators due to working an extended period of time was cited by the Baker Panel as a cause of the explosion). ConocoPhillips has had, since 2005, time to write their fatigue policy and be ready for negotiations. Their failure to do so should not lead to midterm implementation.

2. Direct Hire for Maintenance-I don't know the details of the proposal for this issue. What I do know is that any language changed on how you hire to staff positions should be looked at very carefully. Any changes in this area could lead to changes on language affecting how employees would move in the event of cutbacks or layoffs. That makes this a VERY SERIOUS issue. While our negotiations here in Lake Charles are going well at this early date the company does have proposals much like this on their list here.

Due to this serious situation, we will be informing the company next week to be prepared to increase our dues. As you should remember, after the contract negotiations in 2002, the sites belonging to the CONOCOPHILLIPS NATION WIDE COUNCIL voted to have a fifty-dollar strike assessment to support any of our groups involved in a work stoppage. We invoked this once for a site on strike against Penrico (a ConocoPhillips joint venture) following the 2006 contract extensions.

While we certainly hope the company will begin meaningful negotiations with the group in Ponca City, and any strike by our brothers and sisters can be avoided, we wanted to take this opportunity to keep you informed of the steps we are taking should our members have to strike.

As you should know, what happens at one site often moves to the others. I encourage all of you to stand strong in support of Ponca as they are very likely fighting our fight.

Leon Royer

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Friday 21 May

Yesterday, we spent much of the day discussing items banked holidays and purchased vacation. We have a tentative agreements on this items. We are planning special meetings to discuss these items with the members in the near future.

Today, we spent today at the hall going over items, working on lab issues, and getting ready for next weeks discussions.

Here is a link to the initial lists given by us (here) and by the company (here). I hope you will go over both proposals and let us know what you think.

I highly recommend all our people read this article from the Ponca blog. Our brothers and sisters at Ponca still do not have a contract, so please continue to keep them in prayer.

More later,

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Negotiations Today

I sent out an email discussing today's negotiations. Several "tentative" items were agreed to and signed off on today. We still have a long way to go, but we did make good headway today.

Tomorrow, we hope to start posting specific items, such as the company's list and our list of issues we want to discuss. We also plan to post the "tentative" agreements that we settle on. That way everyone can be familiar with what is happening, so that we can discuss them intelligently and make informed decisions.

Check back soon.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Local Negotiations Have Started

Hey Folks,

Your negotiating committee met with the company today. We exchanged lists of items that each side would like to see come out of these negotiations. After the exchange, the company briefly went through the items on their list, giving a short explanation of each point. When they were finished, we did the same with the items on our list.

There were a number of points where the company and the union have similar interest, so these items should be easy to take care of. Other issues on the two lists have been mostly hammered out in the discussions that have already taken place, and we hope to put them to rest tomorrow. Of course, there are also some issues that may be more difficult to deal with to settle, so keep your representatives in your prayer.

I will try to send out briefs often and I will be providing greater detail when that is possible.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tonight's Meeting

We had an interesting meeting tonight.

We learned that Ponca is still on rolling 24's. They still have a number of critical issues that they are negotiating with the company. Fatigue policy is one issue that they are struggling with, as well as operator mandatory call. We need to keep these union brothers and sisters in our prayers.

Our representatives have been discussing issues with the company for some time, now it is time to start official negotiations with the company. This begins on Monday May 18.

Our representatives want to keep our members informed about what is happening, so new posts here should will become much more frequent. You will be getting more emails also. Your union leadership knows how imporant it is for our members to be well informed, and we plan to do just that.

I now ask all of you to all the members of our negotiation team in your prayers. Ask the LORD that they will be given wisdom and courage to do what is best for all of us. Pray for the company represntatives as well, that they too will do what is right.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Still in Discussions

Our local representatives are meeting regularly with the company.

The next scheduled meeting between our local representatives and refinery leaders is Thursday April 2nd. The issues up for discussion next week are operations scheduling issues, 10% pay for lead T/A operators and temporary work schedule assignments.

NOTICE: We will be voting next in April for operations committeeman. We have two nmembers nominated for this position: James Gallier and Rod Girlinghouse.

The eletion will be held April 9 and will last from 6 AM until 8 PM. I hope you will give this choice careful consideration and show up to vote.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pre-Talks Started Today

At the end of our first day of pre-negotiations, Leon said that he thought things went well in discussions with the Refineries leadership and was optimistic about how things will go forward. We still have a very long way to go and many issues to discuss, but things have started off well.

No specifics are available yet, these are, after all, "pre" negotiations. Still, they are useful and will give us a good sense of how things look before the "real" negotiations begin.

As a reminder, we will be taking nominations for all elected offices of our local at next Tuesday's meeting. Remember to come to the hall for the meeting on March 10.

I hope to see a lot of you there.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Talks Start This Week

Actual negotiations between the RLT and the Local don't start until next month, but both sides have agreed to start talking this week. On March 5 -pre-negotiation talks will begin.

I hope you will all keep everyone involved in these talks in your prayers. Pray that the LORD will give all involved wisdom and good will.

Remember, for our part as workers, we need to do a good job at every task. As union workers, we should be the best workers in our industry.

I will up date as soon as I get more information.


Thursday, February 19, 2009


So far so good, all ConocoPhillips sites who's contracts have come up have settled their local issues, but there are more sites that still have to settle.

Here at LCMC we will start "pre-negotiation" talks in early March, with actual negotiations starting in April. This is something that our local reps see as a good thing. The early talks should give our representatives a feel for where things stand her in Westlake.

Reminder: Next months meeting is VERY important. Nominations for ALL elected positions at the March meeting.


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Officer Nominations in March

At our March 10 meeting ALL elected offices will be up for nomination. We will then vote for ALL officers in April. This is being done to put us in line with the rest of the USW.

Claude Syas has announced that he will not seek re-election as our local president. Claude has done great job leading the local. He has dedicated countless hours to this local and got us up to speed in many areas. He deserves our sincere thanks.

The offices up for nominations are, Local 13-555 officers of President, Vice President, Secretary Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Chaplain, Guide, Guard, 3 Trusties,

There will also be nomination for the Locals Conoco group, which includes President/Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Recording Secretary, Chaplain, Guard, Guide, 3 Worker's Committee men.

The same is true for Sasol's Group as well.

I urge all of you to attend next month's meeting.


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Miscellaneous Stuff

Several people at the refinery have asked a question about the proposed signing bonus. Some people seem to believe that since we at LCMC don't actually sign our contract until July, we may not get the signing bonus. This is not the case. If we sign our contract in July we will get the bonus, just like everyone that signs before April.

There are many questions about local issues. Everything that you've heard so far is mere speculation. We will not actually know what local issues may come up until our negotiating committee actually sits down with the company representatives and they present what ever issues they choose to bring up.

Keep an eye out for Local 13-555 fliers on your bulletin board at work. ALL Local 13-555 elected positions will be coming up for nominations and vote in the next few months.

I will post all positions that are up for election in the near future.

(NOTE: Some one at tonights meeting asked how they could purchase items with the USW logo. Click on this link -- Steelworkers Merchandise -- if you are interested.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

UPDATE: Tentative agreement

I have just been informed that a tentative agreement has been reached on the national level. The agreement is a 3% raise, each year for the next three years, along with a 2,500 dollar signing bonus. There was a good deal of discussion about a "fatigue" policy, but at the end of the day all "fatigue" language was removed from the agreement.

We still have local issues to deal with here, and those discussions won't begin for a few months. We need to keep that in mind as we do our job. Let's all do our best work as best we can and remember the best way to protect our jobs is to be the best at what we do.

Bloomberg's report on the agreement is here


Monday, February 2, 2009

A Bit of Good News

We got word today that California, Ferndale and Billings have all settled their local issues. Of course on the national level they are still on rolling 24's.

Reminder: Our monthly union meeting is next Tuesday February 10. We hope to see a bigger turnout, now that negotiations have begun.

Have a Good Evening,

No New News

There were no knew proposals made on Sunday, but both sides are still talking.

Bloomberg has another interesting writeup here.


Saturday, January 31, 2009

Looking Brighter

Tonight's news is much better than the last post. No one is walking out tonight. ConocoPhillips is back in line with National Oil Bargaining and our Sister locals are going on Rolling 24's.

According to my second hand information (I was not at the teleconference) the latest proposal has a 3% raise for the next three years and also a signing bonus. This is better than we were offered before.

Gary Beevers, and our other representatives, are still negotiating on important issues, but for the time being our brothers and sisters that have contracts ending at midnight tonight, will remain working on a rolling 24 hour basis.

I will up date again when I have more news.


Friday, January 30, 2009

Where Things Stand (at the moment)

Our Local union leaders are in contact with USW leaders at other ConocoPhillips refineries around the country.

Today we learned that ConocoPhillips may be looking at breaking with the National Oil Bargaining program. COP has not yet agreed to the last Shell offer. The last Shell offer was turned down, but COP, as of these five minutes, appears to be hedging on some aspects of that offer.

COP refineries whose contracts end on February 1 are all those in California (including -Rodeo and Santa Maria), Ferndale (in Washington State), Billings (in Montana) and Trainer (in Pennsylvania). As of now, they may be on strike, before the weekend is out. This is a very real possibility if ConocoPhillips does not step up and match the rejected Shell proposal.

Let's pray for our co-workers/union brothers and sisters at these sights. Let us also pray for all those involved in these negotiations, that they will act wisely.

You can read Bloomberg's take on things HERE

I will give updates as they become available. I also hope you will check out the blog or our sister local in Billings. It's HERE


Monday, January 19, 2009

2% + 2% + 1% = Not

Shell's initial offer of 2% + 2% + 1% has been turned down, which is no surprise to anyone. Shell is supposed to came back to the bargaining table with a new offer next week.

As we learn more it will be posted here first, so don't forget to check back again soon.


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Negotiations Have Begun

Tonight's meeting was very interesting. National Oil Bargaining has begun in earnest. This go round the bargaining is with Shell Oil. We all saw the USW starting position before we voted on it several months back. Shell did make a wage proposal, and As I'm sure most people expected, it was a low ball proposal of 2%, 2% and 1% for a total of 5% for a three year agreement.

Several COP sights have also started local negotiations. Claude and Leon are keeping in touch with union leadership at other COP sights, so we should have more specific information about these things in the near future.

Here at the LCMC we will not start "official" negotiations for several more months. If you have concerns or issues that need to be looked at, please contact your steward or committee man. You can also email them to me and I will pass them along.


Monday, January 12, 2009

Monthly Meeting

This is a reminder that tomorrow (13 January) is our regular monthly meetings. You can see the times on our Local website HERE.

See you there,