By Erwin Seba
HOUSTON (Reuters) -The United Steelworkers union (USW) on Thursday afternoon signed a tentative agreement to end a nine-week-old strike at Chevron Corp’s Richmond, California, refinery, the company said.
The tentative pact must be ratified by a majority of the 500 members of USW Local 12-5 who walked off their jobs on March 21.
Workers will vote on the contract over the weekend, with results early on Monday, according to Chevron spokesperson Tyler Kruzich.
“If the agreement is ratified, those USW employees still on strike will return to work over the upcoming weeks,” Kruzich said.
The package agreed to on Thursday contains the terms of the national agreement reached between USW International negotiators and refinery owners in February, which provides a 12% pay increase over four years, said sources familiar with the terms.
Chevron withdrew a $2,500 signing bonus offered before the strike, the sources said.
A USW spokesperson declined to comment.
The strike began over long-simmering frustration among union members as pay increases in recent years did not cover rising costs for their share of health insurance.
To make up the difference, Local 12-5 sought a 5% pay increase in addition to the pay raise in the national agreement. Chevron did not offer the local pay increase before the strike. It was not in Thursday’s agreement.
The union also pushed for increased staffing levels to reduce overtime.
The USW filed charges on May 13 against Chevron with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board alleging the company had changed the terms of employment, refused to furnish information, engaged in coercive actions, including surveillance, and refused to bargain with the union.
Chevron has kept the 245,271-barrel-per-day refinery in the San Francisco Bay area in operation with managers, supervisors and about 60 union members who have crossed the picket line.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio and Bradley Perrett)