Workers confront Sunoco over proposed pay cuts

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SUGAR LAND, Texas — On May 19 a spirited group of labor activists converged on the offices of Sunoco Logistics here to support its truck drivers, members of the United Steelworkers Local 13-1267, who are fighting a proposed pay cut.

It was an early weekday morning and the Houston sun was hot and the fire ants and mosquitoes were already biting, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 15 activists who rallied to support their fellow unionists.

Jim Lefton helped organize the informational picket line outside Sunoco’s offices at the Lake Point Plaza Building. He said the drivers, whose trucks carry crude oil, have been working to get a decent contract for years with Sunoco. However, the company is now proposing, in their “last, best and final offer,” to not only deny them a contract, but also to cut their wages.

The company’s offer, Lefton said, would result in “at least a $3 million reduction in pay” for the workers in the bargaining unit.

Flyers at the event read, “Sunoco wants the people who carry your crude oil to take an average $1,705 a year pay cut while their profits increased by 20 percent last quarter. Corporate greed is not a good thing!”

One woman, wearing her Exxon Mobil overalls, traveled from Baytown, 50 miles away, after a shift change to show her solidarity with the truck drivers.

In mobilizing for the action earlier in the week, the Steelworkers union said, “There are many other onerous proposals in their offer that will attack seniority, overtime and holiday pay, etc. The group, being new to the USW, would like to know someone cares and we need to show Sunoco that a Steelworker is a Steelworker is a Steelworker no matter what they do for a living or where they work.”