USW members account for about 64 percent of the country's oil refining capacity, and more locations could soon join the strike if necessary.
Oil industry obstinance, especially its refusal to even discuss worker safety issues, forced tens of thousands of Steelworkers to strike.
The USW called for its refinery workers to stage their walkout after negotiations with Shell Oil Co. broke down less than two weeks after they began.
But OSHA is so short-staffed, say the Steel Workers who represent the workers at Texas City that an average U.S. refinery would get a PSM inspection once every 120 years.
Nine years ago, on March 23, 2005, the British Petroleum oil refinery in Texas City, Texas, an hour south of Houston, in so many words, blew up.
Environmental activists, among them many union members, are escalating their protests against approval of the pipeline.
Ed Meese, attorney general (the main legal advisor to the government) in the Ronald Reagan administration, urged employers to begin spying on workers.
Hassan Juma'a Awad, president of the Iraq Federation of Oil Unions, was a guest at the AFL-CIO's convention where he spoke at an event organized by U.S. Labor Against the War.
ExxonMobil's flat refusal to deal with safety issues at the largest refinery in the U.S. in Baytown, Texas has led the oil firm to threaten to lock out its 850 union employees.
Steelworkers Vice President Gary Beevers hopes the record fine and criminal charge pleas by British Petroleum will finally force the oil industry to take safety seriously.