Exxon, union negotiators to meet over U.S. refinery lockout – official

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HOUSTON (Reuters) – Negotiators for the United Steelworkers union (USW) and Exxon Mobil Corp (NYSE:XOM) will meet on Thursday for the first time since the company locked 650 workers out of its Beaumont, Texas, refinery on May 1, said a union official on Wednesday.

“We will be trying to resolve the open issues,” said USW Staff Representative Hoot Landry.

Exxon did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Wednesday.

Landry and another staff representative met with Exxon officials on May 12 to clarify terms of each other’s proposals. The two sides have communicated on proposal terms but have not formally negotiated.

Exxon continues to operate the 369,024-barrel-per-day (bpd) refinery and lube plant using replacement workers, including managers and engineers. The refinery produces motor fuels and the adjoining lubricant plant makes Mobil 1 motor oil.

Exxon said it locked out the workers to avoid a strike. The company has insisted USW Local 13-243 call a vote on its proposal. The offer would give Exxon the flexibility to be profitable in even low-margin environments, the company has said.

The USW’s last proposal, made on April 30, sought a six-year contract with no pay raise in the first year. It would match pay raises in the second through sixth years to those set by national labor negotiations that have yet to be held.

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