To: All BMRF/B&P Employees
Re: Decertification Update
As many of you are already aware, on October 5, one of your co-workers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking to decertify the Steelworkers Union as the representative of employees in the Refinery and Blending & Packaging Plant. Since the submission of this decertification petition, the Company has heard several false rumors regarding the confidentiality of both the decertification petition and the upcoming secret ballot election. The purpose of the Q&A’s below is to address and dispel those rumors.
Q: Will the Union be informed of who signed the decertification petition? Is it true that the National Labor Relations Board will provide both the Company and the Union with a roster of employees who signed the decertification petition?
This is not true. The NLRB maintains 100% confidentiality. In order to validate that 30% of the bargaining unit signed the decertification petition, the Company will provide the NLRB with a roster of all USW-represented employees; however, this information is only used to validate that the prerequisite number of signatures were obtained by the petitioner. Neither the Company nor the Union will ever be informed of who signed the decertification petition. Choosing whether or not to be represented by a union is a legally protected right and the Company and the NLRB will work to protect those rights.
Q: Once a vote has been conducted, will the Union be informed of how employees voted in the election?
No. Nobody will know how you vote. Elections are conducted by the NLRB either in-person or by mail. Either way, employees vote by secret ballot, and neither the Company nor the Union will know how any employee voted. At this time, the Company does not know whether the vote will be in-person or by mail. As a result, below we have provided details which explain both the in-person and mail-in election process.
Election Procedures for In-Person Elections:
- Employees go to the voting area at their convenience during designated polling times (to be determined). At the check-in area, there will be three individuals: an NLRB Agent, an observer for the Union, and an observer for the Company. The observers for the Company and the Union are both employees of the Company. To be clear, the observers do not get to see how employees vote. Observers assist the NLRB by identifying voters and ensuring that only eligible employees vote.
- Once an employee’s identity has been verified by the NLRB agent, the employee will be provided with a ballot and directed to a voting booth where they will cast their vote. The booth is private. Only one person enters the booth at a time.
- Ballots are completely anonymous and only ask a voter to indicate whether they wish to be represented by the Union for the purpose of collective bargaining by placing an X in a “yes” or “no” box on the ballot.
- The employee drops the folded ballot in a ballot box where it is mixed with all other ballots. The employees name is not on the ballot. Every ballot looks the same with no identifying mark other than an “x” in the yes or no box.
- Once voting is complete, the NLRB agent will count the ballots in the presence of both the Company and the Union. The union must receive a majority of the valid votes cast in order to retain representation of the bargaining unit.
Election Procedures for Mail-In Elections:
- The NLRB will mail a package to each bargaining unit employee’s home address. This package will contain: 1) mail instructions, 2) a secret ballot for employees to cast their vote, 3) a blue envelope, and 4) a yellow pre-paid self-addressed mail envelope needing no postage for employees to mail in their vote to the NLRB.
- Employees mark their ballot by placing an X in the appropriate square. It is critical that employees do not sign or mark their name or include any other markings that would reveal identity. Ballots with any markings other than in one square will be discarded and not counted. Employees may request a replacement ballot by contacting the phone number provided in the mail ballot packet.
- Next, employees place their ballot in the blue envelope and seal the envelope which does not contain any identifying information. The employee then places the blue envelope inside the yellow self-addressed mail envelope. The employee then signs across the flap of the yellow envelope to ensure there is no ballot tampering. The employee then mails the envelope.
- On the date of the ballot count, the NLRB conducts the entire process in the presence of both Company and Union observers. The NLRB reviews the sealed yellow envelopes to ensure that only eligible employees vote and no one votes more than once. The NLRB then opens the yellow envelope and discards it, leaving the ballot inside the sealed, unmarked blue envelope. The blue envelope is then commingled with all of the other blue envelopes. The blue envelopes have no identifying marks. The ballots inside have no identifying marks. This way, it is impossible to determine who cast which vote.
- The NLRB agent will open all of the anonymous blue envelopes and count the ballots in the presence of both the Company and Union observers. Again, the union must receive a majority of the valid votes cast in order to retain representation of the bargaining unit.
Any questions related to the employee led decertification effort can be submitted to Beaumont Area HR Department at Beaumont.Area.HR@exxonmobil.com.