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Latest News - April 2015

April 10, 2015
Union will reject latest ExxonMobil offer, rep. says

United Steelworkers will reject ExxonMobil's latest labor contract offer, a union representative said Friday, ensuring negotiations over separating Beaumont workers from the national labor contract will continue.

"We're not going to vote on something that is lesser than the pattern, because the day we do that, we lose our bargaining strength," said Richard "Hoot" Landry, an international USW representative. "We are studying their proposal. We are trying to develop a new proposal."

The pattern Landry referred to is the four-year national framework USW and oil companies agreed to on March 13.

Rather than extend that offer to local workers, ExxonMobil has only put forth longer contracts, which union leaders say would weaken their bargaining power during negotiations for the next contract.

Company leaders, reportedly mulling a massive expansion of the Beaumont refinery, have said they want a longer period stability. Online statements also say the company does not want to risk strikes or lock-outs over future talks focused on national issues.

ExxonMobil on Wednesday rejected the union's latest offer, a four-year contract with built-in assurances workers would not strike during 2019 negotiations as long as ExxonMobil pledged to accept the next national agreement.

ExxonMobil and local workers have operated on 24-hour rolling extensions of the previous contract since Feb. 1.

An expired national agreement earlier this year gave way to strikes at 15 plants throughout the United States, including Motiva Enterprises in Port Arthur, while workers at other plants held the option to walk out if the negotiations dragged.

Shell Oil Co. led the oil companies in negotiations this year. Once they reached a deal on pay raises, safety measures, contract labor and other issues with USW on March 13, the four-year contract was sent to companies and local unions to be ratified.

USW senior leadership is tentatively scheduled to meet Beaumont-based USW Local 13-243 membership on Tuesday to discuss the offer and options moving forward, Landry said.

"We're going to do the things that we need to do to get a fair and equitable contract that protects the security of the membership," Landry said. "If we buy in to the company's proposal today, we will lose our bargaining strength forever."



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