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The Brief: March 13, 2015

Steelworkers and Shell Oil have struck a tentative agreement on a labor deal that would end a strike at 15 refineries and chemical plants, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday night.

Houston Ship Channel - March 16, 2012,  Baytown, TX

The Big Conversation

Steelworkers and Shell Oil Co. have struck a tentative agreement on a labor deal that would end a strike at 15 refineries and chemical plants, the Houston Chronicle reported Thursday night.

The United Steelworkers, the Chronicle's L.M. Sixel and Erin Mulvaney wrote, "represent 30,000 workers in oil refineries, chemical plants, pipelines and oil terminals nationwide, including 5,000 in the Houston area. The union represents more than 230 refineries, oil terminals, pipelines and petrochemical facilities in the U.S. Of those, 65 are refineries that process nearly two-thirds of the crude oil in the nation."

The strike began Feb. 1, and the continued unrest had raised fears that gasoline costs would be affected.

The agreement included wage increases for workers. But the union said the focus of negotiations was worker safety, including contracting out maintenance work and assigning too much overtime to workers, the Chronicle reported.

Moving forward, Sixel and Mulvaney wrote, "the challenge industrywide once the strike ends will be to address lingering resentment between labor and management and between workers who remained on the picket line and those who crossed over early so they could return to work.

"'How do we rebuild the teamwork and trust?' asked Keith Casey, executive vice president of operations for Tesoro, said in a letter to employees. He urged people to respect personal decisions made during the strike, then 'bury the hatchet' and move forward."

The Day Ahead

•    Bill filing deadline is today.

•    Senate budget workgroups on Article II (E1.016) and Articles I, IV and V (SHB 380) meet at 9 a.m.

•    Gov. Greg Abbott will host and meet with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny at the Governor's Mansion on Sunday at 10:00 a.m.

•    Tribune CEO and Editor-in-Chief Evan Smith has a conversation with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., on Sunday at 5 p.m. as part of SXSW activities in Austin. The event takes place at the JW Marriott Austin Hotel.

Trib Must-Reads

Private Sector Plays a Big Role In State Water Planning, by Neena Satija

Reintroducing the Texas Legislative Guide, by Ryan Murphy, Annie Daniel and Becca Aaronson

Revisiting the Undrinkable Series, by Alexa Ura and Neena Satija

Land Office Parts Ways With Alamo Managers, by Patrick Svitek

Feds Ask Appeals Court to Let Immigration Plan Proceed, by Julián Aguilar

House Budget Sets Up Transportation Funding Debate, by Aman Batheja

Analysis: When Local Control is Remote, by Ross Ramsey

Senators Share Concerns About A-F Grades for Schools, by Morgan Smith

Isaac Jumping Into Hays County Water Fight, by Neena Satija

Competing Bills Filed Over End-of-Life Care for Pregnant Women, by Edgar Walters and Alexa Ura

Geren Says House "Not a College Dormitory", by Patrick Svitek and Eva Hershaw

In New Hampshire, Perry Cautions Against Rushing to War, by Patrick Svitek


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State fired employee who tried to change rules to get $40K tuition, Houston Chronicle

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Rep. Joe Pickett suggests taking tolls off Texas 130 east of Austin, Austin American-Statesman

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Quote to Note

“The DRT doesn’t pay great, but the benefits are good. But I think it’s going to be good for the Alamo.”

— An anonymous Alamo employee to the San Antonio Express-News on the decision by the General Land Office to end the contract with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas to run the historic site

Today in TribTalk

Liberty trumps local control, by Matt Rinaldi

Trib Events for the Calendar

•    A Conversation With UT-Austin Dell Medical School Dean Clay Johnston on March 26 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Sen. Robert Nichols and Rep. Joe Pickett on April 7 at The Austin Club

•    A Conversation With Sen. Kel Seliger and Rep. John Zerwas on April 16 at The Austin Club

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Charlie Geren George P. Bush Greg Abbott Jason A. Isaac Joe Pickett Rick Perry