On March 21, IBEW 1245 members at the Marathon Petroleum Refinery in Martinez, CA ratified a new collective bargaining agreement after a difficult and protracted bargaining process. These members work at the power plant within the refinery that was formerly owned by Wood Group LLC, and prior to that, Amec Foster Wheeler.
The IBEW 1245 negotiating team began bargaining with Marathon in June of 2022. The Agreement was originally set to expire April 30, 2022. In exchange for agreeing to delay bargaining, the union negotiated a brief contract extension with language that provided that any wage increase would be effective retroactively to May 1, 2022.
The parties remained far apart throughout negotiations, as the IBEW team sought to make improvements to the existing agreement, while the Company proposed many takeaways, such as the elimination of certain overtime provisions, elimination of two floating holidays, reduction in shift differential pay, and a reduction in call-out compensation, and the implementation of a new Drug and Alcohol testing policy.
The members rejected both a “Final” offer from the Company and a “Last Best Final” offer. The “Final” offer was for a three-year agreement with wage increases of 2.5%, 2.5%, and 2.5% each May 1, of the Agreement with a $2,500 bonus. The “Last Best Final” offer had wage increases of 2.5%, 3%, and 3% but with no bonus. Both offers contained the Company concessions mentioned above.
Despite the apparent stalemate, the 1245 committee remained committed to reaching a mutually agreed Tentative Agreement. To that end, 1245 requested that the Company agree to participate in mediated negotiations, utilizing a mediator provided by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Services. After much coaxing, the Company agreed.
On March 14, the company and union met for mediated negotiations. Throughout the mediated negotiation session, the 1245 committee sought to improve on the Last Best Final Offer by getting comparable value for any concessions that the company sought. By the end of the day, we reached a mediated settlement that we were able to recommend to the membership for ratification. The Mediated Settlement Agreement contained the following provisions:
- Lump sum payment of $4,000 to all employees (paid within 30 days)
- A five-year agreement – May 1, 2022, to April 30, 2027
- Wage increases:
- May 1, 2022 – 2.5% (retroactive)
- May 1, 2023 – 3%
- May 1, 2024 – 3%
- May 1, 2025 – 3.25%
- May 1, 2026 – 3.5%
- Double-time for all hours worked on the seventh consecutive day of work, Holidays, and callouts, in exchange for the elimination of $15/hr additional callout pay, shift differential reduction from $2/hour for all hours worked to $2.50/hr for night shift only, and a reduction in floating holidays from four to two.
- Acceptance of the Company Drug and Alcohol program with an implementation in January 2024.
The IBEW 1245 negotiating team consisted of bargaining unit members Devin Mun, Ted Donnell, Victor Aviles, and myself.
–Al Fortier, IBEW 1245 Senior Assistant Business Manager