Local 13-423 Motiva Terminal Group Reaches First Contract

The 13 Motiva Terminal operators in Port Neches, Texas, overwhelmingly ratified a first contract on Nov. 11.

The agreement raised wages for the Local 13-423 unit 10.75 percent over the four-year term, which will expire Nov. 19, 2025.

The swift ratification resulted in an immediate 2.75 percent wage increase and preserved the workers’ strong benefits. Starting in February 2022, they will also receive a 2 percent annual wage increase.

The 13 process operators unanimously voted April 23, 2021, to join the USW, and Local 13-423 Committee Chairman Austin Sangster said many of the goals in negotiations, which began Aug. 16, centered on security.

As a result of their first union contract, for example, the unit will now have a formal grievance and arbitration procedure.

“While we felt we needed a wage increase, gaining the grievance and arbitration procedure was a big one because we felt like we needed something in place to protect us and to give us a chance to hold the company accountable,” said Sangster.

They also gained a no layoff clause, and the local’s negotiating committee will serve as the health and safety committee as well.

“If the company tries to do something that is unfair to us, now we have a leg to stand on,” Sangster said. “The driving factor was we needed to be protected, and now we have that security.

“Morale is much better,” he said. “Before, morale was at an all-time low. Things are starting to tick back upward for us, and we appreciate all the time and effort the USW staff devoted to ensuring we got a good first contract.”

The process operators feed the Motiva refinery and chemical plant with feedstock and get the finished products loaded onto ships and barges. “The refinery and chemical plant cannot operate without us,” Sangster said.

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