INEOS Recognizes Local 13-1 Contract

INEOS announced it would be acquiring BP’s petrochemical division on June 29. This includes the BP’s Texas City, Texas plant where the new employer has now recognized the union and accepted its contract with USW Local 13-1 along with a letter of agreement on successorship.

The petrochemical plant is part of the USW National Oil Bargaining Program, and the successorship language in the contract protects workers’ jobs and contract in the event of their facility being sold. However, it allows for benefits to be “comparable in the aggregate,” which means that the value of the benefits as a whole must be basically equivalent to the benefits under the old contract, although the benefits do not have to be exactly the same. 

USW leaders are negotiating now with INEOS to work out the details. 

“INEOS agreed to recognize the union and contract, so the successorship language worked well in protecting our members’ jobs,” said Lee Medley, a District 13 casual staff representative. “With the ‘comparable in the aggregate’ benefit language, we have a couple of big bridges to cross to have benefits that are comparable to what the Local 13-1 workers had under BP.”

Those issues concern pension security and retiree medical health insurance.

Medley is working with the site’s unit chair, Leslie Dillon, and National Oil Bargaining Program chair Mike Smith to ensure the company transition secures the members’ benefits. He said they have met with INEOS for about a month online and in person.

The USW represents around 70 operators, maintenance workers and lab employees at the Texas City chemical facility.

USW workers at the Texas City plant produce chemical compounds used in various consumer goods ranging from clothing and carpets to smartphones and surfboards.

Local 13-1 has another INEOS unit that is independent of the BP sale. INEOS also has five other non-union manufacturing sites in the Houston area, plus a regional headquarters/sales office in Texas City.

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