United Steelworkers (USW) International President Tom Conway issued the following statement today on behalf of the USW:
“The USW, the largest labor union operating U.S.-based oil refineries, terminals and pipelines, calls on both our government and employers to cut off all Russian imports of crude oil that would be processed in our domestic refineries.
“We must act now to begin replacing Russian oil in our systems and plan for long-term alternatives for our refineries, including increasing efforts to secure domestic crude oil and importing oil from other global sources.
“Our union will begin to oppose with every lever available to us the processing of this Russian-sourced oil, and we call upon our unionized colleagues in other oil-processing nations to also help cut off the income stream Vladimir Putin generates through exporting Russian crude.
“Our union recently concluded labor contract negotiations through our National Oil Bargaining Program (NOBP) with the domestic oil industry covering the vast majority of U.S.-based oil refining. We watched, over the past year, the growing profits of our employers, and we monitor daily the current prices of oil markets. We negotiated a responsible contract that does not add to price gouging or inflationary pressures.
“We now urge our employers to avoid the impulse to use this crisis to increase gasoline and diesel prices at the pump, adding to current price spikes.
“We acknowledge that some of our employers have already announced that they will cease purchases of Russian crude going forward, but also note that those companies who are the largest purchasers of Russian oil have yet to take such steps.
“Our union does not seek a confrontation with those employers, but we call on them to act immediately to avoid provoking unnecessary disputes over the issue of processing Russian-sourced oil.
“The USW stands in unity and solidarity with the people of Ukraine and our colleagues in the Ukrainian labor movement. It is incumbent upon our government and employers to do the same and do everything in their power to assist the Ukrainian people in their hour of need.”