To: All BMRF/B&P Employees
This bulletin provides an update regarding contract negotiations between the Beaumont Refinery (and Blending & Packaging Plant) and USW Local 13-243.
Bargaining Session #47; August 17, 2021
The Company met with Local Union Leadership on August 17. The USW provided the Company with a combination of proposals. As with all proposals received, the Company reviewed these thoroughly; however, the combination of proposals, in its entirety, was inconsistent with the bargaining objectives the Company communicated since the first day of contract negotiations (January 11, 2021). As a result, the Company rejected the combination.
Upon rejection, the Union asked the Company to provide a more specific rationale as to why the Company rejected the USW’s combination. The Company discussed the rationale verbally with the Union in the August 17 bargaining session; however, the Company also committed to providing a more detailed response in the next scheduled bargaining session.
Bargaining Session #48; August 25, 2021
Consistent with the Union’s request, the Company presented a document which detailed the Company’s larger concerns and objections to the Union’s August 17 combination. The document was read in full to Local Union Leadership, and a copy provided to each of the 10 members of the Workmen’s Committee in attendance.
The Union also presented a new combination. Unfortunately, it contained several proposals in common with the rejected August 17 combination along with a previously undiscussed proposal regarding severance allowances. Again, as we have previously communicated to our employees and to the Union, the Company has no plans to conduct a wage layoff. This should be evident as all of the Company’s proposals since January 31 have included the NOBP Job Security Side Letter under which no employee represented by the Union will be subject to involuntary layoff, except for decreases in the level of operations caused by a sale of operating unit(s), complete or partial closure, a merger or joint venture resulting in a change of management control, or an act of God.
After thoroughly reviewing the Union’s August 25 combination, the Company communicated that the combination was inconsistent with the Company’s bargaining objectives and did not compel the Company to deviate from its current offer.
Bargaining Session #49; August 31, 2021
In yesterday’s bargaining session, the Union provided the Company with a comprehensive proposal; however, the parties remained far apart. As such, after a thorough review, the Company rejected the Union’s offer this morning, explaining that the proposal did not address important Company items and included several provisions which are inconsistent with the Company’s key bargaining objectives.
Recap and Path Forward
The Company and the Union initiated contract negotiations on January 11, 2021. After three weeks of discussions, the Company issued its last, best, and final offer on January 31, 2021. The Company provided the Union with a two week window of opportunity to bring the offer to our employees for a ratification vote prior to expiration. At the time, the Company was optimistic that a deal could be achieved without a work stoppage; however, on February 15, the Union issued a 75 day strike notice. The Company issued a 75 day lockout notice later the same day.
The Company remained optimistic that a deal could be achieved without a work stoppage and issued additional comprehensive offers over the 75 day notice period. Unfortunately, the Union reiterated their willingness to strike and unwillingness to accept the offer or take it to a vote. On April 23, the Company gave additional notice, and on May 1, initiated a lockout of USW-represented employees.
Over one hundred twenty days have passed since the initiation of the lockout, and the Union has not presented an offer that came close to meeting the Company’s objectives. Nonetheless, it remains the sincere hope of each and every member of Management that the USW Local 13-243 Bargaining Committee will accept our offer and hold a membership vote.
Beaumont Refinery Basic Operator Training Program #3
As we told the Union, in the absence of a ratified agreement, the Company will continue to operate the facility safely with fully trained supervisors the majority of which started their ExxonMobil careers as wage employees. Additionally, the Company will continue to supplement its supervisor resource pool with contract operators. A third Basic Operator Training program for contract operators began on Monday, August 23.
As we have previously communicated, the training and use of contract operators does not prevent our represented employees from returning to work upon the ratification of a new agreement. Again, USW-represented employees remain employed with ExxonMobil; therefore when the lockout ends, they will be returned to work.