SAN RAMON, Calif. — Dozens of striking refinery workers and family members picketed the Chevron corporate headquarters here May 10, waving signs saying, “Enough is enough, bargain in good faith,” “Safe refineries save lives,” and “500 strong striking at Chevron.”
With fuel prices skyrocketing, Chevron’s profit-hungry bosses just announced the highest quarterly earnings in almost a decade. Yet management has not budged on the strikers’ demands for sustainable work schedules, better safety procedures and wages that can keep up with inflation.
“For years they’ve taken bite after bite out of us,” refinery operator Jose Chavez told this Militant worker-correspondent. “Cuts in safety. Giving us a raise and then taking more money back in out-of-pocket medical expenses. And the overtime. They definitely need to hire more people!”
Refinery operator Elvira Figueroa came to the protest dressed as a rat, displaying her opinion of the company. This is her first time on strike and she is a regular volunteer at strike headquarters. “For me, the big issue is short staffing and being on call even when you have a day off,” she said. Long hours and stress from job combinations lead to a high turnover, making things worse.
The strikers, members of United Steelworkers Local 5, are maintaining picket lines 24/7 at the refinery gates in Richmond. These workers need solidarity in their fight with this oil giant.