LIMA — After 17 months of negotiations, the United Steel Workers Local 624 will be voting on a new contract with the Husky Lima Refinery.
The ratification vote of the tentative agreement will take place over the next two weeks, on Mondays through Thursdays, at the labor hall on Dixie Highway, said USW Local 624 President Michael Edelbrock. Voting times are 2:30 p.m., 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
“Due to the pandemic, we have to social distance, wear masks and do a lot of things. But after two weeks, we will know if we have a contract or not,” Edelbrock said Friday.
The contract, which covers around 220 workers, expired at midnight April 14, 2019, but has been extended on a 24-hour rolling basis to allow the two parties additional time to reach an agreement. The union may vote to accept a new contract or go on strike at any time if negotiations break down.
Before the old contract expired in April, Edelbrock told The Lima News the union was focused on working conditions, wages and other issues at the refinery.
Husky Lima workers last ratified a contract in 2015. They have not gone on strike since 2012, when the union protested working conditions and safety issues at the refinery while Husky sought greater flexibility and lower pay for new employees and workers in training.
The 2012 strike lasted about four months, ending in October after Husky advertised that it would be searching for replacement workers.