Joint Statement from USW President Leo W. Gerard and NABTU President Sean McGarvey

Contact: Tom Owens, North America's Building Trades Unions, 202-756-4623,
              Wayne Ranick, United Steelworkers, (412) 562-2444,

ATLANTA, GA -- There has been much confusion concerning the United Steelworkers (USW) negotiations with the refinery industry regarding the scope of our members’ work.

We are issuing this statement to make clear that the scope of work USW is seeking in negotiations with the refinery owners does not and will not include the following: new construction; turnaround or shut down work (not currently performed by in-house USW members); and specialty work that requires specialty equipment.

In addition, the USW does not and will not seek to bar the subcontracting of such work to contractors whose employees are represented by North America’s Building Trades Unions. The daily maintenance and repair work covered by the existing scope or recognition clauses contained in USW agreements with refinery owners and performed by the refinery owners’ workforce is the work of the USW. This is the only work the USW is trying to defend in the current negotiations with the refinery owners.

Furthermore, USW officials acknowledge the safety qualifications of NABTU contractors and acknowledge that those contractors that employ and are signatory with North America’s Building Trades Unions, utilize the best trained, most skilled and safest craft workers in the world. The USW recognizes that the five contractors represented by the California Refinery Contractors Association undermine the standards of the USW and the Building Trades in the industry. The USW is committed to resolving this issue once and for all including, if necessary, the expulsion of the USW Local Unions that represent the workers of such contractors.

Meanwhile, for the duration of the USW strike, NABTU unions and their members shall respect the USW picket lines and refrain from performing struck work, with the understanding that rebuilding and/or new construction by NABTU union members shall be permitted and USW will assist the NABTU in facilitating such work.


North America's Building Trades Unions is an alliance of 14 national and international unions in the building and construction industry that collectively represent over 3 million skilled craft professionals in the United States and Canada. Each year, our unions and our signatory contractor partners invest over $1 billion in private sector money to fund and operate over 1,900 apprenticeship training and education facilities across North America that produce the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled craft workers found anywhere in the world.

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, plus the service and public sectors. For more information:

Click here to download a PDF of the statement.

Press Inquiries

Media Contacts

Communications Director:
Jess Kamm at 412-562-2446

USW@WORK (USW magazine)
Editor Jim McKay

For industry specific inquiries,
Call USW Communications at 412-562-2442

Mailing Address

United Steelworkers
Communications Department
60 Blvd. of the Allies
Pittsburgh, PA 15222