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Oil Refinery Strikes Continue, Mississippi Gas Prices Keep Going Up

JACKSON, Miss.–You can see the results of what walk-outs at oil refineries in California and Kentucky are doing to gas prices in Mississippi on a daily basis. Friday the average cost for gas in the state was $1.88. Since then it has gone up a dime and some stations are back to selling it for over $2 per gallon.

Though production at the refineries has not stopped, for the most part, the strikes have caused a rise in oil futures. Production has been kept up by retirees, managers and other non-union labor.

Talks have been on-going, but oil and steel workers have demanded a pay increase of 6 percent per year, which is more than twice their previous demands. It’s at a time when the oil industry is not doing so hot, thanks to a drop of more than 50 percent in the price of crude oil.

The main dispute is between Shell and the United Steel Workers. It’s not just about pay, either.

“When there’s a fire or an explosion, you’ll know that we’ve had to evacuate communities,” said Leo Gerard, president of the Union. “We believe that our proposals will make for a more productive company, a safer place to work and that’s good for our members, good for the company and good for the community and I don’t know why they won’t deal with it.”

Gerard said that things could get worse if Shell doesn’t concede.

“If they continue to not come to terms with it, we’ll have no choice but to ask more of our members to go out in more refineries.”

That could mean more spikes in what you pay for gas here at home.

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