United Steelworkers strike around country, in Houston

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HOUSTON, Tx - After failing to negotiate a three-year agreement, members of the United Steelworkers went on strike at U.S. refineries and chemical plants across the country including those in the Houston area.

At the Shell Deer Park facility, Liondell Basell facility and Marathon Petroleum`s sites in Galveston and Texas City, steel workers are off the job.

"It`s come to this point because the industry is making unreasonable demands," said Ben Lilienfeld, U.S. Steelworkers Dist. 13. Striking workers say the unreasonable demands involve pay, benefits and safety, including the issue of fatigue.

"Our members work a tremendous amount of hours and don`t get enough rest with the kind of scheduling the companies are doing," said Lilienfeld.

The strike didn`t start smoothly at Liondell. Workers who were walking out had their badges suspended early weren`t able to open the door to leave.

"After a short period of time we forced the company to turn their badges back on so they could exit the facility," said Lilienfeld.

Seems timing couldn`t be worse to negotiate with companies that are panicked by falling prices of crude oil.