BEAUMONT, Texas: The two sides in the Exxon Mobil Beaumont, Texas, refinery standoff on Wednesday were back to square one after workers soundly rejected the company’s sweetened contract offer.
Exxon for months pushed the United Steelworkers union to put the company’s contract proposal to a vote, and the defeat meant a six-month lockout will continue. Union officials said the vote was overwhelmingly against the proposal without provide a tally.
Unlike farm equipment maker John Deere and breakfast cereal supplier Kellogg, where thousands of employees laid down their tools, Exxon locked out union workers in a dispute over job seniority and security.
There were no negotiating sessions scheduled, Exxon said on Tuesday. However, the oil company left the door open for another vote before Nov. 1, when pay raises and a signing bonus will be dropped from the company’s offer.
A union official said the vote signaled workers were not willing to accept the loss of seniority preferences on job bidding nor a separate contract for the oil packaging and blending staff.
Gross said the union hopes to see the company and union return to the negotiating table before Nov. 1.