Exxon and Steelworkers to meet for the first time on Thursday

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Exxon and Steelworkers to meet for the first time on Thursday

HOUSTON - Negotiators for the United Steelworkers and Exxon Mobil Corp will meet for the first time on Thursday, as the company locked 650 workers out of its Beaumont, Texas cruder on May 1 said a union official on Wednesday.

'We will try to resolve the open issues, said USW staff representative Hoot Landry.

On Wednesday, Exxon's representative did not respond to a request for comment.

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

Exxon continues to operate the 369,024 barrel-per day refinery and lube plant with replacement workers, including managers and engineers. The refinery produces Mobil 1 fuels and the adjacent lubricant plant produces motor oil.

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

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

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