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Union Employees at Texas Refinery Locked Out by Exxon Mobil

With Exxon Mobil Corp. and the United Steelworkers unable to reach an agreement on a new labour deal, it is set to lock out union workers at its Beaumont refinery in Texas at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The oil giant turned down union counteroffers to its earlier-this-month contract proposal. According to a source familiar with the talks, the union is still working on new options and aims to keep negotiating and its representatives working as negotiations continue. In the case of a lockout, rather than calling a strike, the union would picket Exxon Mobil with signs declaring the lockout unconstitutional.

Companies normally bring in temporary staff to manage facilities during a lockout. Starting Saturday, Exxon has searched for staff to replace union members. Rozena Dendy, plant manager, said on Friday, said, “Our lockout decision is a result of the Union not accepting the company’s contract proposals and the risk of a strike. It is vital to the safety of our community that we control this timeline to allow our qualified and highly skilled team to assume safe control of our operations.”

The six-year work agreement between United Steelworkers Local 13-243 and Exxon expired on February 1 without a new collective bargaining agreement in effect for the Beaumont refinery and blending and packaging facility. Exxon’s bid, according to the union, will result in significant adjustments to the current contract, affecting members’ protection, security, and seniority.

The USW and Exxon Mobil each gave each other 75-day notices on Feb. 15, as is expected before a lockout or strike. Exxon has already refused the union’s offer of a one-year extension, stating that if employees do not adhere to the company’s latest plan, they will be locked out.

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