HOUSTON, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Negotiators for Exxon Mobil Corp
and the United Steelworkers union (USW) are discussing a
contract proposal that could receive a ratification vote by
workers locked out of a Beaumont, Texas, refinery since May 1,
2021, a union official said on Friday.
The members of USW Local 13-243 in Beaumont could vote on
the contract proposal, if one is agreed to by negotiators,
sometime in February, said Bryan Gross, USW International
Gross declined to offer details about the proposal under
Exxon spokesperson Julie King said the company has been
negotiating with the union for a year.
"Exxon Mobil has actively engaged in good faith negotiations
with the United Steelworkers union at the Beaumont refinery and
lubricants plant since January 2021," King said on Friday. "The
companys offer remains available for ratification."
Exxon's offer was rejected in a vote by the members of Local
13-243 in October.
Exxon began the lockout because the union had issued a
strike notice to the company during negotiations for a new
The company said a strike could cause a disruption to
operations at the 369,024 barrel-per-day refinery and adjoining
lubrication oil plant.
The two sides were unable to reach an agreement prior to the
lockout because the company insisted on removal of job seniority
provisions, which union officials have said provide workers a
say in job assignments.
Exxon said its offer would give it flexibility to operate in
even low-margin environments.
Exxon has previously said the lockout would end when a
contract was ratified or the union was removed from the
A vote on the union's removal was conducted by the U.S.
National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in November and December,
but the ballots were impounded on Dec. 29, by the board so it
could review charges filed by the USW alleging Exxon undertook
the lockout to force the union's removal.
(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Leslie Adler and Aurora