BEAUMONT, Texas — The local United Steelworkers Union and ExxonMobil are back at the bargaining table.
The lockout, which started May 1, 2021, is now nearing nine months.
The union met with ExxonMobil twice on Wednesday. Union spokesperson Bryan Gross said the union made some changes to its latest proposal in the hopes of getting the oil giant to play ball.
Gross said locked-out union members have been very vocal lately and want to get back to work.
With almost nine months into the lockout, they have a lot of questions and are wanting some direction. What's next?
"I’m not going to say we made a complete new proposal, but we told them if they would do these things, if they would make these amendments to their proposal then we would talk about bringing it to a vote," Gross said.
Gross said in the union's latest offer to Exxon, they made some small changes to existing proposals in hopes the company will do the same on their end.
Gross tells 12News Exxon has made some changes to the company's latest proposal, but Gross said he doesn't think they'll stick to their promises.
"I would consider them empty promises,” Gross said. “There's no commitment to those changes. There's nothing that says they have to stick with those changes. And I mean, even down the road if the contract was agreed to it's very, very vague."
Gross said the locked-out workers' main concern remains safety and seniority.
He said the union will most likely have to make a concessionary offer to the oil giant at some point, especially if they aren't willing to budge on their end.
"We're going to leave it to the membership just like we did last time and they voted it down,” Gross said. “They voted the proposal down and said it wasn't worth it, so at some point, we'll get back to that, and they'll get another opportunity."
Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Allen West made a stop through Beaumont earlier on Wednesday and also visited with locked-out union members.
He said it's important to get these people back to work soon.
"We cannot shut down a critical oil and gas energy sector industry that we have here,” West said.
Gross said Wednesday the local union spoke to Exxon representatives over the phone Wednesday afternoon, but no progress was made as far as negotiations go.
From a Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022 ExxonMobil statement...
In yesterday’s 55th bargaining session, the union provided a new proposal. The Company rejected this proposal and provided a new counter offer which included two, union-requested changes. The union is currently reviewing the offer and has not indicated whether they would take it to a vote.