To: All BMRF/B&P Employees
The purpose of this note is to provide an update and respond to a number of questions we have received related to bargaining since before May 1.
What’s in the Company’s Offer?
Terms of the Agreement / Economics:
- Six (6) year term of the agreement (through January 31, 2027)
- Refinery-specific increases of 1.5% in 2021 and “me too” wage increases in 2022 – 2026
- The above increases will be applied to provide the Refinery Operators & Specialist competitive increases compared to other refineries across industry.
- “Me too” increases means that the Company will match National Oil Bargaining Pattern (NOBP) percentage wage increases in those years.
- Consistent with the Company’s proposals to reduce the Clerical & Materials Specialist Classifications, current employees in each classification would be advanced to the top rate and kept in role or moved to a new role based on employee capability & business need.
- LOBP (Blending & Packaging Plant) employees will receive 0% increases for the first three years of the agreement maintaining their competitive position in the Lubes Industry where average wage rates are lower.
- The approach helps improve competitiveness for the Company, while minimizing impact to employees while the industry takes time to catch-up to our rate of pay.
|Refinery||1.5%||Me Too||Me Too||Me Too||Me Too||Me Too|
*These employees will be held at, or moved to, the top hourly rate of their classification in 2021 (Clerical = $42.30; Materials Specialists = $44.32).
National Oil Bargaining Letters of Agreement
Responsive to the Union’s demands, the Company included the below National Oil Bargaining Letters of Agreement in our offers to provide a comprehensive offer that met the Union’s requests.
- The Company agreed to the following new 2019 National Oil Bargaining Pattern (NOBP) Letters of Agreement: Routine Maintenance Craft Utilization, Fatigue Management, Health & Safety, and Training & Curriculum.
- The Company agreed to renew the following Letters of Agreement where such letters exist: Layoff Notice, Plant Closure, Rate Retention, National Healthcare Insurance, Health & Safety, Successorship, and Job Security.
Revise Wage Progressions to Reflect a 54 Month Top Rate
- This creates no change to employee’s current pay rates.
- All employees that are currently at the top rate within their job classification’s wage progressions will continue to earn the top rate regardless of their tenure in the role.
- All current employees will continue to follow their job classification’s current wage progression.
- The change to a 54 Month Wage Progression will exclusively apply to new hires and employees that transfer or promote into a new job classification after February 1, 2021.
- Example 1: The Mechanical Department currently has a 42 month wage progression, so a 45 month Piping Equipment Specialist would already be at the top rate of pay. The 45 month employee would continue to earn the top rate of pay after the implementation of this change.
- Example 2: Under the current 42 month Mechanical wage progression, a 30 month Piping Equipment Specialist would be eligible for the top rate in 12 months. This employee would still be eligible for the top rate in 12 months.
- Example 3: If an employee were to hire into Mechanical after February 1, 2021, the Company would apply the proposed 54 month wage progression.
Reclassification of all Refinery ‘A’ Operator and Assistant Operator posts to Process Operator posts
- This proposal provides the Company additional flexibility when making training assignments to better ensure more people are qualified in their operating area. Additional employees cross-qualified across all posts within their line of progression will lead to higher competency within the unit as well as safer, more reliable operations.
- To be clear, the Company currently has no plans for any post reductions in the Process Department. The Refinery currently has 23 A-Operator posts and 36 Assistant Operator posts. After the implementation of this change, we would have 59 Process Operator posts.
- Union Leadership declined the opportunity to provide input during bargaining. However, as the Company told the Union, the Company values the unique perspective that our unit operators can provide, and the Company would afford the Union and unit personnel the opportunity to provide input into the Management of Change (MOC) prior to implementation.
- The differentiation of these roles has been grounded in history; however, we believe that all those qualified and acting deserve the same opportunity to lead.
- Pay Considerations consistent with this proposal
- The Company will “red circle” all current ‘A’ Operators and ‘A’ qualified Assistants / Trainees at the current ‘A’ Operator rate.
- The Company will continue to pay these employees the 2020 ‘A’ Operator top hourly rate of pay, $45.92, until the general Process Operator rate of pay surpasses $45.92. At that time, those “red circled” employees would become eligible for the annual/contractual NOBP increase.
- Tied to this proposal, the Company has also proposed to eliminate declination language and to equitably distribute overtime to all qualified employees.
Elimination of “Senior Bidding” Language
- As part of the Company’s proposal to eliminate job bidding, the Company has proposed a work process for employees to express their interest in transferring into vacancies across the Refinery and Blending & Packaging Plant.
- This change would bring Beaumont up to the standardized best practices already in place in our sister refineries, Baytown and Baton Rouge, where employees are afforded opportunity based on qualifications and business needs as opposed to bidding based on seniority exclusively.
Revision of Layoff and Hiring Language
- The Company has included the USW’s NOBP Job Security side letter. This letter states that 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.
- The Company has proposed that, in the event of a layoff resulting from the conditions outlined above, employees covered by this agreement would be laid off in inverse order of their effective site (either Refinery or Blending & Packaging Plant) seniority.
- While the Company has no plans for a layoff throughout the term of the agreement, this proposal prepares the site to better endure any of the above listed provisions in the event they occur in the next six (6) years. While layoffs are not planned and these situations are not anticipated, the Company strives to be prepared.
Additional Company proposed contractual changes include but are not limited to:
- Expand paid parental time off benefits, from 3 days to 1 week, following the birth or adoption of a child
- Extend probationary period, from 6 months to 24 months, for all new hires after February 1, 2021
- Extend strike / lockout notice period from 75 days to 120 days (also applies to benefits language) to reduce the risk of future strikes/lockouts
- Optimize frequency and attendance of the Company and Union’s regular meeting
- Revise process lines of promotion to merge the Ethyl Plant and Lube Pumpers
- Revise process lines of promotion to reflect the addition of Crude C
- Revise grievance and arbitration language to reflect current practices, as aligned with the Union
- Remove volunteer language from the 12 Hour Agreement
- Edit Dues Deductions language, as aligned with the Union
- Eliminate questionnaires language
Additionally, the Company has proposed the parties continue to meet for the purposes of:
- Reviewing the options available regarding work limitations, as aligned with the Union
- Continuing discussions on the 4×10 Agreement, as aligned with the Union
- Cleaning up grammatical and formatting errors from the contract, as aligned with the Union
What’s the Current Status of Negotiations with the USW?
Since April 30, the Union has not provided a new proposal. On May 12, the Company and Union met to bargain for the first time since the work stoppage began. At this meeting, the Union emphasized that they would not present a new offer in this meeting. The Union spent the majority of the meeting asking clarifying questions regarding the Union’s April 30 proposal, which had been previously rejected.
For the first time in bargaining, the Union verbally communicated that they would no longer talk about the conversion of our Console Shift Supervisors (FLS) to wage; however, the Union has not provided a revised proposal.
We are hopeful that the Union has heard the Company’s bargaining priorities which we have communicated since January 11, 2021:
- First, the safety of our workforce;
- Second, the reliability of our operations; and
- Third, the profitability of our site, to keep us competitive in a difficult and changing business environment.
The Company’s offer remains available. At this time, we are not aware that a vote has been scheduled.