BEAUMONT — The United Steelworkers Union and ExxonMobil met for several hours Tuesday, after meeting last week as well, but still no contract agreement, according to information Richard ‘Hoot’ Landry with USW 13-243 provided to KFDM/Fox 4 News.
ExxonMobil sent us this statement: “ExxonMobil continues to meet and bargain in good faith with the Union. The Company’s bargaining team met with the Union today. After discussion, both sides remain far apart. The Company’s current offer remains available for a vote by the membership.”
The company locked out about 650 union members in May after they were not able to reach agreement on a new contract.
The USW began picketing outside of the ExxonMobil Refinery in downtown Beaumont.
The union says it wants job security, improved safety, and seniority considerations maintained, while the company says it needs to improve efficiency.
The two sides have met only a few times since the lockout, most recently, last week.
“We made several proposals today, four or five, and the company rejected them,” said Richard ‘Hoot’ Landry with USW 13-243. “We’re still trying. We’re still talking. That’s a positive. We are having some decent discussions. That’s more positive than it was.”
Landry says the focus isn’t money.
“We haven’t even talked money,” said Landry. “We’re still trying to work through the issues. The only discussions we’ve had about money is the fact they’re going to freeze wages for a certain group of workers until everybody catches up with them. We’re making proposals to try to counter that. The company says they’re profitable now, so they say in October, they’ll resume the 7 percent match in our 401(k) plan.”
Landry says no additional talks are planned for the rest of this week.
The union set up a pantry and is helping workers with food and utility bills for those who need it.
“Our workers are on unemployment and have insurance,” said Landry. “Our people are doing the best they can without being able to work. Some workers have gotten jobs in construction and other areas until they can return.”
Landry says ExxonMobil is running the refinery with supervisors, administrators and temporary workers it’s brought in.
Written by KFDM/FOX4