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U.S. Refiners, Steelworkers Said to Reach Tentative Agreement

U.S. refiners and the United Steelworkers reached tentative agreement on a new three-year contract, averting a potential strike that would have idled as many as 69 plants, according to three union representatives with direct knowledge of the talks.

The proposal includes pay increases of 2.5 percent in the first year and 3 percent in the second and third years, said the representatives who asked not to be named because the terms haven’t yet been made public.

The deal was reached today after negotiations that started Jan. 14 in Austin, Texas, between the union representing 30,000 workers and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, which was bargaining on behalf of the companies. The current agreement expires at midnight Houston time.

Other companies involved include Valero Energy Corp., Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc, ConocoPhillips, Chevron Corp., Marathon Oil Corp., Sunoco Inc., Tesoro Corp. and PBF Energy Inc.

If no deal was reached, the union could have called a general strike or agreed to extend negotiations in 24-hour increments.

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