UPDATE 2-Marathon St. Paul Park refinery workers authorize potential strike

(Adds comments from union call with investors, media)

Dec 18 (Reuters) - Nearly 200 refinery workers represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in St. Paul Park, Minnesota, voted last week to authorize a strike if they cannot agree on a new contract with Marathon Petroleum by the end of 2020, the union said on Thursday.

A strike could affect operations at Marathon’s 102,000-barrel-per-day refinery in St. Paul Park.

“We do not anticipate supply disruptions in Minnesota or the Midwest region and expect to continue meeting our customer commitments,” said a Marathon spokesman.

The company added that while it is committed to reaching an agreement, it has “appropriate contingency plans in place” and is prepared to safely operate the refinery in the event of a work stoppage.

No progress has been made in negotiations between the union and Marathon after nearly daily talks that have been ongoing since the end of November, union representatives said on a call with investors and media on Friday.

Talks will continue for three days next week and throughout the rest of December.

The union mainly disagrees with Marathon’s position to hire subcontractors for work typically performed by unionized members at the refinery, representatives said.

They confirmed that the refinery is not running at 100% capacity due to the COVID-19 pandemic but are unclear what rate the plant is running at. (Reporting by Laura Sanicola; Editing by Dan Grebler, Jonathan Oatis and Richard Chang)