Exxon welcomes upcoming vote on offer to locked-out Texas refinery workers

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HOUSTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) on Tuesday welcomed an upcoming vote by workers at its Beaumont, Texas refinery on a new contract offer, saying its terms ensure that the refinery can remain profitable in the long term. term.

Nearly 600 workers represented by the United Steelworkers union were locked out of the 369,024 barrel per day (bpd) refinery and adjoining lubrication plant on May 1 and have not been paid.

“We are delighted that our represented employees have another chance to vote,” Exxon spokeswoman Julie King said. “Our offer provides long-term stability, including job protections and salary progressions for employees.”

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A USW official said the union is withholding its recommendations on the proposal but wants members to decide on the twice watered-down offer. A member vote is scheduled for February 21.

USW Local 13-243 said in a statement that it “will continue to hold Exxon Mobil management accountable and pursue our charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) regarding serious unfair labor practices. of the company”.

The proposal would give Exxon new control over work assignments, which it has sought as part of a refinery expansion. The expansion would make Beaumont its largest oil processing capacity in the United States.

Exxon said the seniority changes were necessary to be able to compete even in low-margin environments.

The workers rejected a similar contract proposal in October.

The new offer makes Martin Luther King Day a paid holiday, clarifies language on a union committee and provides a job description for operators at the lube oil plant, Exxon said.

It remains to be determined whether the USW will continue to represent workers at the plant. The US National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) held a vote on union decertification late last year. The results of that vote have been withheld while the NLRB considers unfair labor practice charges by the USW alleging Exxon initiated the lockout to force the union out. Read more

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Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by David Gregorio

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