Press Release: ExxonMobil is denying a raise to clerical workers at its Baytown, Texas, facility despite earning $30.5 billion in 2010.
The United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 13-2001 represents the 41 workers in the bargaining unit, all of whom are women. The union and the company began negotiations March 1 for a new three-year agreement. The contract expired March 15.
As support staff in the Baytown refinery, chemical plant, lab and main office building, the women do clerical and analytical work and handle functions like payroll, auditing and accounts receivable/payable.
“They are the central nervous system of this place. Without them everything would go awry,” said Local 13-2001 President Ricky Brooks.
ExxonMobil’s last, best and final offer was a zero percent wage increase in the first year and a non-strike wage re-opener in the second and third years of the contract. The union rejected the offer.
“These workers are entitled to a raise like everybody else,” Brooks said. “It’s the first time they’ve been asked to accept nothing.”
The clerical unit joined the USW’s National Oil Bargaining program in 2008 along with the Baytown site’s refinery, chemical plant and lab bargaining units. Brooks said ExxonMobil needs to follow the pattern set in 2009 and obtained in 2010 by the site’s other three bargaining units. This would mean a 3 percent raise and $2,500 signing bonus the first year of the contract for the clerical workers. For the remaining two years of their contract the clerical workers would like to get whatever pattern is set in 2012 National Oil Bargaining talks.
District 13 International Staff Representative Richard “Hoot” Landry said ExxonMobil told the union that a raise for the clerical workers would elevate the group to a level above the company’s competition. He said the union submitted an information request to the company in order to learn who it views as its competition. Other area oil and petrochemical clerical workers earn more, he said.
Landry said the present contract will continue in effect unless either party gives notice of a lockout or a strike. As of now, no notice has been given.
The USW is the largest industrial union in North America and has 850,000 members in the U.S., Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers employed in metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, atomic energy and the service sector.