Union Workers Return to Exxon Texas Refinery after Lockout

Reuters, March 7, 2022

Nearly 600 union refinery workers began returning to work on Monday at Exxon Mobil Corp’s Beaumont, Texas, refinery for the first time after the end of a 10-month company lockout, a United Steelworkers (USW) official said.

The workers, members of USW Local 13-243 in Beaumont, are returning to work based on shift assignments, said Bryan Gross, USW International representative. All of the workers will have returned to the refinery by Friday.

Exxon began the lockout on May 1, 2021, to avoid disruption from a possible strike when company and USW negotiators were unable to reach agreement after three months of talks on company control of all job assignments as part of a new six-year contract.

For decades, 25% of jobs were awarded based on seniority. Exxon said that and other changes in the new agreement were needed to make the refinery competitive in low-margin environments.

Union members voted in February to accept a contract with Exxon’s demands.

We are happy our members are going back,” Gross said. “It’s not the contract that our members deserve, but we will continue representing our members and will stand by them to make sure Exxon Mobil follows the new contract."

Exxon spokesperson Julie King said, "We welcome our workers back to work."

The company kept the refinery in operation with supervisors and managers from around the United States and temporary workers hired in the Beaumont area.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Bill Berkrot and Kim Coghill)

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