Refinery workers, Shell reach tentative agreement in bid to end 6-week strike

EnergyAssociated Press

The United Steelworkers union has reached an agreement with Shell that could soon lead to the end of a six-week strike that has affected 12 U.S. refineries.

The USW and Royal Dutch Shell have been negotiating a contract that would serve as a blueprint for agreements with other refiners.

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The union said Thursday the tentative agreement provides yearly wage increases and keeps the current level of health care cost sharing. The agreement also provides for a review of staffing and workloads at refineries.

The union had accused refiners of creating unsafe conditions with extensive overtime requirements and using a growing number of contract workers, who the union says aren't as well-trained as USW members.

Union workers are expected to return to work as their local chapters reach agreements with refineries.