Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – Negotiations between Phillips 66 and the Teamsters Local 877, which represents workers at its 285,000-bpd Bayway refinery in Linden, New Jersey, have broken down, according to two sources familiar with the discussions, raising the possibility of a work stoppage at the Northeast’s largest operational refinery.

Source: Reuters

The two sides have been in discussions but have not yet come to an agreement. Workers voted against a three-year contract earlier this month, which included provisions such as expanding operators’ responsibilities to include several different operating refinery units.

Operations have continued under a 24-hour rolling contract that has been in place since the previous contract expired on Sept. 30. No new date for a contract vote has been set.

The Bayway refinery is the largest in operation in the U.S. Northeast following a fire and series of explosions in June that led to the closure of the 335,000-bpd Philadelphia Energy Solutions facility.

Refining capacity in the region has declined over the years as much of the nation’s refining output now comes out of the U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest.

Phillips 66 will not back off the new provisions on expanding operators’ responsibilities, which the union deems a safety issue, according to a source familiar with negotiations.

“We understand the company’s need of flexibility but their proposals will eliminate the process unit experts we currently have and make our members jack-of-all-trades,” said one union source.

The source said a contract proposed by Phillips 66 that included those points would almost certainly get voted down by the union, which represents about 500 operators at the facility, which employs about 800 people, according to the company’s website.

If an agreement is not reached, the unionized refinery workers could be subject to a lockout, leaving the company without access to certain emergency response systems such as a fire department.

Phillips 66 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Legal Notice