Union says Exxon stalling Baton Rouge contract talks
Negotiations for a new contract covering hourly workers at Exxon Mobil Corp.'s Baton Rouge refinery have stalled over a disagreement on worker safety, the United Steelworkers union says. An Exxon spokesperson says the refinery is disappointed that the union rejected its most recent offer, "and are further disappointed that the USW International union has not allowed its local membership, our employees, to vote on ratification." The USW says Exxon has failed to offer a key safety provision of the national contract agreed to by oil companies and the USW in February, and which four of Exxon's refineries approved at that time. Specifically, the union says Exxon has not offered Baton Rouge workers a contract with a provision for a process safety representative that USW and the company would appoint at the refinery. That position is intended to focus on safety and reliability in the refinery production process as opposed to general safety. "We value full employee participation in all of our site safety programs," says the Exxon spokesperson. "Union comments to the contrary are both misleading and incorrect." The agreement between Exxon and USW at Baton Rouge expired on March 31, but there is a 75-day contract extension in place to continue talks until mid-June.
Editor's note: This story has been changed since its original publication.
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