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UPDATE 2-St. Paul Park union approves Marathon's contract, ending work stoppage

(Adds details on negotiations)

July 1 (Reuters) - Unionized workers will return to work at a Minnesota refinery next week after reaching a contract agreement with Marathon Petroleum that ends a months-long work stoppage, the union said on Thursday.

Teamsters Local 120 in St. Paul Park, Minnesota, approved a revised contract offer from Marathon Petroleum after fighting proposals that could have cut jobs and subcontract maintenance work.

The union, which represents nearly 200 jobs, will return to work at Marathon’s 104,000 barrel per day refinery on July 6, ending a stoppage that began in January.

The company is the second-largest independent U.S. refiner behind Valero, with plants in Illinois, Minnesota, and other states.

Marathon had brought in out-of-state workers to operate the facility while the workers were locked out.

The revised agreement does not address all of the union’s concerns, and the Teamsters will continue to advocate for refinery safety through its grievance process and legislatively through policy change, according to business manager Scott Kroona.

He said a key factor in the union’s decision was the inclusion of language in a state public safety bill requiring Minnesota refineries to maintain a full-time paid fire department to respond to emergency situations.

Union workers repeatedly argued Marathon’s proposals jeopardized safety, and various members accused Marathon of fostering an unsafe work environment at the refinery, which Marathon denied.

The Teamsters and Minnesota building trades pushed for a bill requiring state refinery workers to undergo training similar to a union apprenticeship, but legislators stripped out that provision from a state jobs bill last month. (Reporting by Laura Sanicola; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Dan Grebler)

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