Business

Petition to decertify USW 13-243 at ExxonMobil now in hands of NLRB

BEAUMONT — ExxonMobil workers represented by United Steelworkers Local 13-243 have submitted a petition to the National Labor Relations Board seeking to decertify the union with the goal of returning to work.

Workers have been off the job since May 1 after ExxonMobil began a lockout after the two sides couldn’t reach agreement on a new contract.

The petition must contain the signatures of at least 30 percent of all workers represented by USW 13-243, even those who don’t pay union dues.. The NLRB must certify the petition in order for the workers to hold a decertification election.

“They claim they have 30 percent of the entire represented body of workers, most of whom are members of USW 13-243,” union representative Bryan Gross told KFDM/Fox 4. “The petition has been circulating since February when we were all still working. The National Labor Relations Board must certify the petition to trigger an election to decertify the union. That process will take a while. It took five or six months at ExxonMobil in Baytown and workers voted against decertification. The company isn’t allowed to interfere or promote decertification. We know union members were getting involved on company time, using the ExxonMobil email system to circulate information. That could make signatures invalid.”

The two sides last met September 27 when the company presented a new, 40 page proposal to the union. It addressed some of the concerns the union had in various areas.

“We’re still reviewing the proposal,” says Gross. “We’re still trying to get clarification on some points. We still have issues with safety, seniority and security.”

Gross says he understands everyone wants to return, but he says it can’t be at the expense of hard-fought gains the union made on behalf of workers over many decades.

“We feel like a majority of the membership is still with us, still behind us, and still supports our path to this point,” says Gross. “This is a small group. They’re buying into the fact that it’s a way to get back to work. They’ve been out of work for six months. We feel like the fight is still worth fighting.”

Some of those supporting decertification have set up a Facebook page:

From Decertify Bmrf

Decertification petition has been filed with the NLRB. ExxonMobil and USW have been notified. All signatures have been sent to the NLRB.

What now? The NLRB will move forward with scheduling a decertification vote pending the 30% signature verification.

What can you do? Continue sending in your decertification signatures. If we pass 50% signatures before the future decertification vote, we can go back to work even sooner.

Previous report: ExxonMobil amends offer to USW as lockout that began May 1 continues

Thursday, September 30th 2021

ExxonMobil has amended its offer to the United Steelworkers Union following a meeting between the two sides Monday.

The company locked out about 650 USW members from the Beaumont refinery beginning May 1.

The company says the amended offer addresses union concerns about seniority and security.

Bryan Gross with the USW 13-243 says the union is concerned about changes that would affect not only seniority and job security, but safety.

ExxonMobil says if the union doesn’t ratify the offer by November 1, some of the proposed additions.

The leaders of United Steelworkers union (USW) local 13-243, which represents the locked-out workers, said Exxon’s new offer fell short.

They sent this statement to KFDM/FOX4:

United Steelworkers’ Union response to ExxonMobil Bargaining and the Lockout

The Union and Company met on Monday Sept. 27th. The Company presented a new offer for the first time since January. This was the 50th meeting between the two negotiating teams and the first amended offer by the Company.

ExxonMobil addressed three of the contentious items surrounding the seniority and wages of the Blending and Packaging Plant employees. The Union is reviewing the latest offer to fully understand the short-term and long-term effects of each proposal. We will get answers to any questions and concerns from the company prior to calling for a membership meeting or a ratification vote.

Company EIB #26 The Company’s amended offer includes the below, Union-requested, changes:

Additional language which provides seniority protection for employees who move between sites (B&P/Refinery). Such protections may include, but are not limited to, seniority-honored vacation selections, and seniority protection in the case of a layoff. This was not a true move but mainly just clarification.

Increased job security and protection from layoff for employees in the Materials Specialist and Business Support Specialist job classifications. The Union would have to agree to reduce the Material Specialist Department headcount to zero in the future and reduce the Business Support Specialist job classification to (3) three, for the loss of 9 jobs to gain this language.

Combination of the Package and Warehouse Operator Lines of Promotion at the Blending & Packaging Plant (B&P). This proposal provides additional wage progression opportunities for all current Warehouse Operators and the opportunity for a more meaningful career with increased skill development. This language will reduce this classification by over $10 an hour plus freezing the cost of living raises for at least 10 years for part of the same group.

Although these changes are recognized as movement by the Company, the overall 40-page comprehensive offer still leaves much to be desired. The Company still maintains their position on some very important issues such as- Eliminating the “A” Operator positions, the right to move an operator anywhere they choose at any time regardless of seniority and eliminating job bidding completely. These three proposals alone are still a direct attack on the core values of the Union’s Safety, Seniority, Security.

The Union maintains its’ position to reach a fair and equitable contract for our members and protect Local 13-243’s almost 80 years of history with the ExxonMobil Beaumont Complex.

USW 13-243 Leadership

From ExxonMobil: All BMRF/B&P Employees

The purpose of this note is to provide you with an update on our ongoing bargaining with the USW Local 13-243.

After extensive review and discussion with the Union, the Company has decided to amend its offer. Over the last several months, the Union has made clear their interest in an offer which expands support for security and seniority. The Company has heard these interests and has amended its offer to provide further support to our employees while still achieving the Company’s objective of safe, reliable, and profitable operations.

During Monday’s meeting, the Company gave the Union a comprehensive amended offer, the first Company offer extended since the lockout began.

The Company’s amended offer includes the below, Union-requested, changes:

Additional language which provides seniority protection for employees who move between sites (B&P/Refinery). Such protections may include, but are not limited to, seniority-honored vacation selections, and seniority protection in the case of a layoff.

Increased job security and protection from layoff for employees in the Materials Specialist and Business Support Specialist job classifications.

Combination of the Package and Warehouse Operator Lines of Promotion at the Blending & Packaging Plant (B&P). This proposal provides additional wage progression opportunities for all current Warehouse Operators and the opportunity for a more meaningful career with increased skill development.

The Company’s amended offer still includes a six (6) year term, pay raises for the majority of our employees, previously included benefits such as additional vacation protection, increased paid parental time off (PPTO), and National Oil Bargaining Pattern (NOBP) side letters including the job security letter which provides protection from layoff.

In addition to the changes above, the Company is also offering a $500 ratification bonus to all USW-represented employees.

The Company is hopeful that this amended offer will be ratified by employee vote; however, if this offer is not ratified by November 1, 2021, the Company will reduce the amended offer as follows:

Removal of the $500 Ratification bonus

Elimination of wage increases for any employees in 2021

Removal of the right to grieve/arbitrate employee resignations

Additional Perspective & Path Forward

At Monday’s meeting, the Union conducted an initial review of the proposal and will continue to review prior to notifying the Company of any action.

Once the Company and Union reach a ratified offer, the Company will work with the Union to establish a return to work agreement and return USW-represented employees to the site, ending the lockout. In order to reach a ratified offer, the Union membership must vote yes through a ratification vote. We encourage all employees interested in voting on this offer reach out to their Union leadership to express interest and receive information on any planned Union meetings.

Written by KFDM/FOX4

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