HOUSTON, Jan 5 (Reuters) – Negotiators for Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and the United Steelworkers union (USW) are set to meet on Thursday to settle a more than 8-month-long lockout at a Beaumont, Texas, refinery, a union official said on Wednesday.
The two sides have not met in person for talks since October, shortly after workers rejected the company’s contract offer. The talks also come after a U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) vote on whether to remove the USW from the plant.
USW International Representative Bryan Gross confirmed the meeting.
Exxon did not reply to a request for comment. The company has said it would end the lockout when the company and the union reach agreement or when the union is removed through decertification.
Exxon has continued to operate the 369,000-bpd refinery and oil-blending facility using supervisors and managers along with temporary operators. The facility produces gasoline and Mobil 1 motor oil.
The NLRB said on Dec. 29 it was impounding ballots cast in a decertification vote by USW Local 13-243 members as it investigates unfair labor practice complaints the union has made against refinery. Results may not be known for several weeks, a NLRB spokeswoman said.
The board said it is reviewing union charges that the months-long lockout of about 600 workers at the plant intended to break the union at the plant and that Exxon improperly aided a union-removal campaign. Exxon has denied the allegations. read more
USW 13-243 officials have said Exxon’s offer would eliminate job security for many of its members, while the company has said the agreement is needed to be able operate profitably in low-margin environments.