BEAUMONT, Texas — A recent vote to decertify the United Steelworkers union has been impounded as members of the National Labor Relations Board look into three separate claims of unfair labor practices.
Almost 600 union workers have been locked out of the ExxonMobil plant in downtown Beaumont for more than eight months.
During this time, many petitions have circulated to remove the United Steel Workers union from representing the locked-out workers. On Oct. 4, 2021, locked-out workers filed a petition to decertify the union.
Afterward, union workers were asked to vote on whether to keep the union. “Secret ballots” were sent out in the mail to USW workers on November 12, 2021.
The NLRB impounded the decertification ballots on Dec. 29, 2021 and postponed the vote counting. Board members stated that they needed to look into allegations filed by both employees looking to decertify the union and the USW union against ExxonMobil.
Information obtained by 12News through open records requests revealed that there have been two charges filed by the union against Exxon. There has been one charge filed by the decertification group against the union.
All the allegations filed with the NLRB are centered around unfair labor practices.
The first complaint was filed against the USW on Sept. 30, 2021 by members of the decertification group. The complaint stated in part that union, "officers, agents and representatives have restrained and coerced employees.”
In December of 2021, the union filed two charges against the power giant. Union officials claimed the company violated the National Labor Relations Act by promising to return employees to work if they decertified from the local union.
Union officials also claimed the company was not providing them with necessary information.
“We're working through those,” Bryan Gross, USW union representative, said. "Some of it takes some time and then, I can tell you that some of the charges that's been filed by that group in the past have all been either withdrawn or thrown out for no merit.”
A count of the decertification votes cannot be conducted until all three of the charges are thoroughly investigated. Gross does not believe the charges filed should affect any potential contract talks.
“What they rule on as far as our charges against the company could make a difference,” Gross said.
ExxonMobil and union representatives met last week but were unable to reach a deal. There are no scheduled meeting between the power giant and the union for this week
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