Employees represented by the United Steelworkers Union at ExxonMobil will soon have the opportunity to vote on the company’s offer, marking the first possible end to the lockdown since it began more than six months ago.

Steelworkers Local 13-243, which represents ExxonMobil workers in Beaumont, told workers Monday that a vote would be held Oct. 19 at the union hall of IBEW Local 479.

The room at 1430 Spindletop Road is the same one workers have been coming to for about six months to file their expenses with the USW strike fund.

Voting will be available in shifts to accommodate all employees represented, with times at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.


Although some employees represented by the United Steelworkers may not necessarily be full dues-paying members of the local, only full members will be permitted to vote for ratification.

Bryan Gross, a United Steelworkers District 13 representative, said the decision to call the vote came after days of consideration and some company responses on the details of their amended offer that were submitted to the bargaining committee on Friday. .

ExxonMobil announced on September 29 that it had made some changes to its offer based on ongoing conversations with the union, the first time it had changed its terms since the foreclosure began.

Voting is currently scheduled for Tuesday, October 19.

Or: IBEW Local 479 (1430 Spindletop Road, Beaumont, TX 77705)

When:

10am

2 p.m.

6 p.m.


Gross said the committee had sought explanations and discussed with members since that offer was made, but ultimately felt ready to call a vote after meeting with the company on Friday.

Despite an amended offer on the table, Gross said union leaders still don’t believe the new contract will benefit workers.

“Our position is that the supply is lower than the rest of the industry,” Gross told the Enterprise. “Even with a modified proposal, there are more negatives than positives for the members.”

Prior to the start of the lockout, Steelworker representatives said the terms of the contract would essentially end the union seniority system as it operates today and eliminate several positions at the refinery that it deemed necessary for the security.

In the amended offer, the company agreed to allow certain workers to keep their seniority status when they change divisions within the company in view of redundancies and agreed to keep certain positions as they were under the last contract.

Gross said the union believes these changes still have a big impact on seniority and only guarantee that certain positions will exist as long as the person currently employed remains in that job.

The contract is set for six years and the company has promised a $500 signing bonus until November 1. She also promised to start removing some offers from her proposal if there was no ratification by the deadline.

Gross said management and union members still have plenty of time to talk before Oct. 19, but it’s hard to say exactly what will happen until the final vote is counted.

“I think the lockdown is going to influence some people. Some people are ready to go back to work,” Gross said. “Let’s hope the majority sees that ExxonMobil will continue to push its agenda to force an agreement on its terms.”

More than 620 employees have been locked out of the complex and without pay after the union and the company were unable to ratify a contract before the start of May.

Negotiations had been ongoing since January, but the union felt it should clear a possible strike with notice around March to offer more leverage if the company did not listen to workers.

ExxonMobil hit back with a lockdown notice, later explaining it couldn’t risk the impact of a quick work stoppage and felt working with management and contractors to manage the facilities would be a better option. .

Now, the way seems open to return these workers to their units and positions, which could happen directly after a majority vote for ratification is counted, according to the company.

“Once the company and union reach a ratified offer, the company will work with the union to establish a back-to-work agreement and return USW-represented employees to the site, ending the lockout. “, company representatives said in the statement.

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