Written by T. Logan Dayne
The Chevron oil refinery went on strike earlier this week and has the potential to not only continue to push California gas prices to the highest in U.S. history but also trigger a string of strikes across the state. More than 500 employees at the Chevron oil refinery in Richmond are striking, hoping for a pay bump in their wages as the cost of living in the Bay Area continues to increase. The Vice President of the United Steel Workers stated that Chevron doesn’t “plan on giving our members any more help with inflation and the high cost of living.” Claiming that workers in that area are simply trying to maintain their standard of living without working themselves to death.
The refinery accounts for up to 14% of California’s refinery capacity and could exacerbate California’s gas cost even more, already the highest in the nation. California Gov. Gavin Newsom has made vague promises of putting money back into the pockets of Californians but has yet to make any definitive plans. This was after Democrats denied a Republican proposal to suspend the state’s excise gas tax in an effort to bring down prices. The best Newsom could do was postpone what was already to be a mandated gas tax increase scheduled for July. The “substantial” rebate Newsom promises to give back to Californians, wouldn’t even be seen for months and the exact amount is left unclear.
More strikes are already waiting in the wing that don’t promise to make the lives of Californians any easier. Sacramento City Unified School District employees are preparing to go on strike unless they receive a “cost-of-living raise”. The campus serves about 40,000 students. Grocery workers are also starting to vote on whether to authorize a strike. Supermarkets like Ralphs, Albertsons, and Vons have proposed to give their workers a $0.60 annual raise. This was called “paltry” by John Grant, President of the United Food and Commercial Workers, saying that it would do nothing to address the soaring cost of living.
Photo Cred: Laura A. Oda/ Bay Area News Group and East Bay Times