HOUSTON, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Mike Smith, a former refinery unit operator and local union official from California, is taking over leadership of the United Steelworkers union (USW) oil industry workers.
Smith replaces Kim Nibarger, who retired in September as chairman of the National Oil Bargaining Program, which negotiates contracts on behalf of 30,000 USW members working in refineries, chemical plants and on pipelines in the United States.
Nibarger and USW International President Tom Conway, who was then the labor organization's administrative vice president, in January succesfully negotiated a new three-year contract for union members in the oil industry.
"We've been successful in reaching fair contracts with the oil industry," Smith said to Reuters. "It's always a battle, but I think our members will continue to fight for fair contracts."
Smith was an hourly worker at Chevron Corp's Richmond, California, refinery before becoming a union staff representative for USW Local 5 in the San Francisco Bay area. (Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Nick Macfie)