HOUSTON – Exxon Mobil Corp on Thursday rejected a contract offer from the United Steelworkers union (USW), two days ahead of a threatened lockout of 650 Texas refinery workers by the energy firm, said people familiar with the matter.

Exxon rejects contract offer from Texas refinery union: sources- oil and gas 360

Source: Reuters

Talks between the two sides, at the 369,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Beaumont refinery, have been underway since before a six-year contract expired on Feb. 1. If a lockout occurs, it would be the first time since 1988 the plant’s workers have gone off their jobs because of a labor dispute.

Neither side has disclosed details of its contract proposal.

Workers could be locked out of the plant Saturday morning and replacement crews put in their place if USW members have not voted on the company’s latest offer, the people familiar with the talks have said.

“Despite extensive efforts, we have not reached agreement, and the union committee has not held an employee vote on our offers,” said Exxon spokeswoman Julie King. “We will continue to operate to ensure a safe and reliable supply of quality products to our customers.”

Staff representatives of the USW met with Beaumont refinery officials earlier in the day Thursday but did not pass along an offer, according to the people.

Exxon’s lockout ultimatum came last week after the union offered a one-year extension of the six-year contract that expired.

Exxon has begun recruiting, via email messages, 60 people with at least two years’ experience to work as process operators at the refinery between May and August. It also has trained managers and engineers from around the United States to operate refinery units.

In an email sent on Thursday and viewed by Reuters, Exxon told those it contacted about the temporary work that it had received 146 resumes in answer to the call for temporary operators.

Exxon and the USW have been negotiating since January for a new contract.

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