A two-week Hovensa lockout is over, and some 205 affected employees from Wyatt Inc., a Hovensa contractor, will return to work Friday because the union and company have agreed on a new contract, the union confirmed Thursday evening.
Wyatt and United Steel Workers local no. 8248 have been negotiating a deal to replace the old contract, which expired Sept. 15. At the time, Wyatt’s employees rejected a contract proposal that called for a two-year wage freeze. Because Hovensa has a policy locking out contractors engaged in a labor dispute, Wyatt’s unionized workforce was not allowed into the refinery.
In negotiating sessions Sept. 19, the union requested a 2-percent wage increase in each of the first two years of a new contract and reduced its demand in the third year from 4 percent to 3.75, according to Wyatt. The union also maintained its demand for increased benefits that Wyatt said would be the equivalent of an additional 3-percent increase to the contract.
The agreement hammered out between negotiators and approved by union membership Thursday provides for a wage increase in the last year of the agreement, United Steelworkers Staff Representative Gerard "Jerry" Jackson said in a statement from the union. Also the new agreement will protect all current union members from any increases in their health insurance premiums for the next two years, he said.