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Texas Rep. urges United Steelworkers, ExxonMobil to continue negotiating as lockout continues

Texas Rep. James White is the latest state leader to speak out, urging the USW union and ExxonMobil to continue negotiations to make a mutually beneficial compromise

BEAUMONT, Texas — Representatives from ExxonMobil and the Untied Steelworkers are set to meet next Thursday to negotiate a deal after the two were unable to reach an agreement following their first sit down in nearly a month on June 10.

The battle between ExxonMobil and the union has lasted longer than most expected. It's the latest setback, for hundreds of union workers. They've gone without paychecks for about six weeks.

They met Thursday, but there wasn't much progress. The energy giant says their "current offer remains available at this time."

After the Thursday meeting, ExxonMobil released this statement to 12News.

"The company continues to meet and bargain in good faith with the Union," the release says. "No additional proposals were exchanged in today’s meeting with the Union, and the next meeting is scheduled for next Thursday. The Company’s current offer remains available at this time."

An ExxonMobil spokesperson told 12News that another meeting between the company and the union is scheduled for next Thursday, June 17, as negotiations continue.

"We are trying to pull our SETX economy out of the COVID ditch. We don’t need lockouts and walkouts," Texas Representative James White said in a statement released Friday, June 11.

White is one of the latest state representatives to speak out, urging the USW union and ExxonMobil to continue negotiations to make a mutually beneficial compromise.

White continued saying in part, “A mutually beneficial compromise that returns our workers back to the plant ensures that they are able to provide for their families,” and “continues to pave a way for our Southeast Texas communities to thrive.”

RELATED: Texas Rep. Joe Deshotel urges ExxonMobil to end lockout with United Steelworkers union

The union's 650 members have been locked out of the Beaumont plant since May 1, 2021, after talks between them and the company stalled.

The two sides last met on May 12, 2021.

In an email sent to 12News after their May 12 meeting, ExxonMobil said their new deal would last for six years, through January 31, 2027.

It would provide refinery-specific wage increases as well as eliminates "senior bidding" for jobs.

It also adopts other union-approved language for layoffs and onboarding, among other issues.

The lockout has been hard on workers and their families Landry told 12News on Tuesday.

A pantry was recently set up at union headquarters in Beaumont  to help locked out workers with food and other supplies.

The local began bargaining a new contract in January. But talks led to little movement on either side, and on April 23, ExxonMobil provided the local with written notice of its intention to lock out members starting May 1.

The union has called the lockout an unfair labor practice, and they have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board.

The two sides remain far apart on many issues. The local had requested that a federal mediator be brought in to resolve the lockout, but both sides must agree and so far Exxon has not. The local has also filed unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board. 

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