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United Steelworkers battling misinformation, preparing for holidays as ExxonMobil lockout continues

A representative said the lockout, which began May 1, has cost the local economy over $200 million.

BEAUMONT, Texas — United Steelworkers members say the missed checks are bad especially as we head into the holiday season, but the misinformation that's swirling is worse.

The union is pointing to a recent campaign from ExxonMobil to decertify them here. The energy giant is accusing them of fraud, intimidation, and more.

Local union representative Bryan Gross said the union will continue to negotiate with ExxonMobil.

A decertification vote is still looming, which would allow union workers to say “yes” or “no” to keeping the union.

"It's costed the membership money, the community money. I mean, it's all a burden," Gross said.

Gross said the lockout, which began May 1, has cost the local economy over $200 million. And as far as negotiations with the company are concerned, Gross said things are in a holding pattern.

"We don't feel that Exxon’s going to move much until we see this decertification vote, see if it's going to go through or how the labor board's going to rule," Gross said.

RELATED: ExxonMobil encouraging United Steelworkers members to vote to decertify union

RELATED: ExxonMobil: Employees will not lose jobs if they vote out United Steelworkers union

Gross is referencing a recent decertification petition filed by a group of locked-out workers pushing to break away from the union.

According to Gross, the fact a majority of the workers didn't vote to ratify Exxon’s latest contract offer has renewed the group's fight to decertify.

But he admits the decertification movement only hampers the union's efforts to negotiate with ExxonMobil.

"It didn't go certain people's way so now we feel like they're reaching trying to figure out a way because they lost," Gross said.

Gross sent 12News the union's latest statement on the lockout.

In the statement, the union claims ExxonMobil has been spreading lies in an attempt to get rid of the union.

Meanwhile, Gross said the union is doing its best to help out these locked-out workers and their families especially with the holidays coming up.

"We're putting together some thanksgiving meal kits with all the ingredients and things for thanksgiving dinner,” Gross said. “We're working on some turkeys and hams and all that stuff for our members to come pick up."

All along, the energy giant has maintained that they are negotiating in good faith with the union and union members.

ExxonMobil did not offer a new statement Thursday. In the past few weeks, they have encouraged union members to break from the USW and come back to work.

12News reached out to ExxonMobil for their response to the union's latest statement, but have not heard back.

Stay with 12News for updates on the lockout.

 

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