/Exxon Mobil begins escorting workers from Texas plant -USW official – Yahoo News

Exxon Mobil begins escorting workers from Texas plant -USW official – Yahoo News

By Erwin Seba

BEAUMONT, Texas (Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp late Friday began escorting United Steelworkers (USW) union members from part of its Beaumont, Texas, complex ahead of an expected Saturday lockout, a USW official said.

The oil company had set a 10 a.m. (1500 GMT) May 1 start time to begin removing hourly workers represented by the USW if there was no vote on a company labor contract proposal.

Union officials submitted a last-ditch contract proposal Friday evening that was rejected by the company, Exxon said on its website. The union proposal “would significantly increase costs and limit the company’s ability to safely and efficiently operate,” the company said. It rejected the proposal.

“After they gave us a lockout date and time, they could not give up control of the timeline. They had to go early,” Hoot Landry, a USW staff representative, told Reuters. The two sides had given each other a 75-day notice of a strike or lockout, a period that would have ended May 1.

An Exxon spokesperson was not immediately available to respond to the USW comment.

Exxon said it offered to negotiate through the night to reach an agreement ahead of the 10 a.m. deadline, but the union wanted to resume talks on Monday.

“We are disappointed negotiations broke down,” Exxon said. “The lockout will continue until the union accepts the company’s current offer or the parties otherwise reach agreement.”

The company’s April 20 offer “remains on the table, and a ratified contract would avoid the lockout planned for 10 a.m. tomorrow or would end a lockout once initiated,” Exxon said on its website.

Union negotiators “came to the consensus to move our priority from negotiations to preparation for the lockout at 10 a.m. tomorrow,” the USW’s Landry said.

(Reporting by Erwin Seba; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Richard Pullin)

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