Sunday, February 1, 2009

Recession? What Recession? Let's Strike!

In a recession where 2.6 million people have lost their jobs over the past year, Fox News reports that United Steelworkers is on the verge of directing the 24,000 refinery workers they represent to lay down their tools and raise their picket signs instead. This follows the offer of a guaranteed three-year raise in salaries for the workers of 2.5% per year, despite the recession.

Given that most people, in general, are driving far less than they have in the past, it appears that the effect on gas prices would ultimately be minimal. This is reinforced by the fact that the bigger producers plan to either shutter their facilities altogether, or scab their plants, something that should be easy enough to do given the glut of available personnel.

The nation's biggest refiner, Valero Energy Corp., said it would shut down some facilities if workers walk out. So did European oil company BP PLC.

Shell Oil Co., the lead negotiator for the industry, along with Exxon Mobil Corp., said its refineries would continue to make gasoline, diesel and other fuels using nonunion or replacement workers.

Given the general anti-union sentiment stirring across the country after it came to the surface that UAW was a major reason the Detroit automakers needed a bailout, United Steelworkers is either showing some huge balls with this move, or they're just plain stupid.

Everything is against them in this negotiation. If they strike and we watch Valero and BP walk away altogether, and Shell & Exxon scab things over, I for one, will have no sympathy.

No comments:

Post a Comment