Sent on behalf of Rozena Dendy and Jonathan Parsons.
To our Beaumont Area Employees:
With the continued uncertainty in our workplace due to the ongoing negotiations with the United Steelworkers Local 13-243, we want to extend our sincere appreciation to the entire Beaumont team for your high level of professionalism and excellent teamwork throughout the bargaining process. We understand you may be feeling an increased level of concern and we want to provide you with more perspective on the current negotiations situation.
The Union and the Company have been engaged in negotiations for a new contract since January. Unfortunately, the parties did not reach agreement before the contract expired, and the Union has not scheduled a vote for its members to date on any of the offers. On February 15th, the Union provided a 75-day strike notice, and the Company followed with a 75-day lockout notice. With the parties still far apart and the risk of a strike increasing, on April 23rd, the Company notified the Union that it would lockout all represented employees on May 1st at 10 a.m. It is vital to the safety of our community that we control this timeline to allow our qualified and highly skilled management team to assume safe control of our operations.
The ExxonMobil Beaumont Complex and the USW Local 13-243 have a long history of collective bargaining. In the past 50+ years of our relationship, we have been able to reach agreements on some very difficult issues through challenging times. In our history, there have been at least three Union-led strikes in 1975, 1980, and 1988.
The Company’s bargaining team explained in January 2021 that we are seeking changes necessary to continue our journey to “World Class Beaumont.” The changes that are being sought are nothing new or unique within ExxonMobil, or the industry. Many ExxonMobil sites already have the flexibility that we are seeking. Continuing our journey in this unprecedented business environment requires us to improve our competitive position in multiple areas. Without focusing on continuous improvement, we run the risk of falling behind our industry. By improving our competitiveness, we are better positioned to be here for another 50+ years. That translates to good paying jobs for all our current employees and future generations.
Our greatest hope is that we reach agreement before May 1st and that cannot happen without the Union allowing a vote. We advised the Union that our offer remains on the table. If no agreement is reached, the lockout will continue until the Union accepts our current offer or the parties otherwise reach agreement on a new contract. Our offer provides security and stability that we all want, and it will allow ExxonMobil to continue to be the employer of choice in Southeast Texas.
The next step is difficult and not taken lightly as we understand our employees may be feeling a level of concern. Our represented employees face uncertainty because of the potential impact to them and their families of a work stoppage. For our non-represented employees, operating responsibilities and the activities associated with achieving a ratified contract also creates uncertainty. Throughout these activities, you have continued to uphold a high standard of excellence.
We’d like to close by once again thanking you for your ongoing support, professionalism, teamwork and above all else, your safety mindset which is enabling us to remain focused during this challenging period.