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Published: Thursday, 10/4/2012

UNITED STEELWORKERS

4-month strike ends at refinery in Lima

Return under old pact set Monday for 240

BLADE NEWS SERVICES

LIMA, Ohio — Union workers at the Husky Lima Refinery have ended their four-month strike.

About 240 members of United Steelworkers Local 624 have been striking since May 25 over safety issues and working conditions. Production has continued, with salaried employees doing the jobs of union members.

The union employees are scheduled to return to work Monday.

The company accepted the union's unconditional offer to return to work after almost 10 hours of talks on Tuesday, officials said.

“Everybody’s going back right now under the old contract, unless something changes in talks between now and the 8th,” Mike Edelbrock, Local 624 president, told the Lima News.

Union officials said they would continue to negotiate a new contract for their members.

In May, Husky officials said the company had offered three years of wage increases, at 2.5 percent initially and 3 percent for each of the final two years, which would put the average wage at $37 an hour.

Union members rejected Husky's offer but said the major issues were working conditions and scheduling.

A statement from a company spokesman on Wednesday said that before employees return to work they will go through an orientation of a new central control facility that was established during the strike.

"This facility contains state-of-the-art systems to enhance safety and operations at the refinery," the statement said.

The last strike at the Lima refinery was in 1980 when the 400 workers — represented by what was then the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers union — joined 60,000 workers nationally in a walkout that lasted 11 weeks.

The refinery puts out 155,000 barrels a day.



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