Labor Dispute at Exxon's Beaumont Refinery Centers around Seniority, Pay, and Demand for Vote

Reuters, May 4, 2021

Disputes over seniority rights and pay for union workers at Exxon Mobil Corp’s Beaumont, Texas, refinery led to Saturday’s first lockout at the 118-year-old plant, according to people familiar with the matter.

Workers represented by the United Steelworkers union (USW) walked picket lines for a third day outside the gates of the refinery and its lube oil plant. No talks took place and no proposals were swapped on Monday between two sides, the people said.

The oil company on Saturday barred about 650 USW Local 13-243 members from the complex, citing the union’s refusal to call for a vote on its contract proposal. Exxon also feared the workers might strike, officials said.

The two sides mostly disagree on Exxon’s call for revising seniority rules, the people said. Refinery workers spend their entire careers on one processing unit, gaining seniority preferences for scheduling, hours and job stability, they said.

The company’s proposals would undermine our seniority,” one of the people said. “Seniority affects our vacations, our job security and our safety.”

Exxon spokeswoman Julie King said on Monday: “We remain far apart on many important items.

She declined to comment on specific proposals, but said “many provisions sought by the union are not part of other existing contracts the company has with the United Steelworkers.

Exxon “has bargained in good-faith since the parties started negotiating in January,” King said. Future talks “will be determined jointly by the company and the union.”

Exxon has said its contract proposal would maintain “the company’s ability to compete over a range of economic conditions, including periods of low industry margins.”

The USW separately filed complaints with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board against Exxon, accusing it of refusing to bargain, of repudiating or modifying their agreement, and of coercion.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Richard Pullin)

Click here to read the full article from Reuters.

Copyright 2024 Thomson Reuters. Click for restrictions.

Comments and Discussion

There are no comments yet.

Add a Comment

Please log in or register to participate in comments and discussions.

Inspectioneering Journal

Explore over 20 years of articles written by our team of subject matter experts.

Company Directory

Find relevant products, services, and technologies.

Training Solutions

Improve your skills in key mechanical integrity subjects.

Case Studies

Learn from the experience of others in the industry.


Inspectioneering's index of mechanical integrity topics – built by you.

Industry News

Stay up-to-date with the latest inspection and asset integrity management news.


Read short articles and insights authored by industry experts.

Expert Interviews

Inspectioneering's archive of interviews with industry subject matter experts.

Event Calendar

Find upcoming conferences, training sessions, online events, and more.


Downloadable eBooks, Asset Intelligence Reports, checklists, white papers, and more.

Videos & Webinars

Watch educational and informative videos directly related to your profession.


Commonly used asset integrity management and inspection acronyms.