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HOUSTON, Sept. 2 (Reuters) – AFL-CIO President Elizabeth Shuler called on Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) to end a four-month shutdown of workers at its Beaumont refinery. Texas, due to “possible security risks,” according to a copy of a letter seen by Reuters.
Exxon closed hourly employees at the plant on May 1, saying it feared a strike after an employment contract expired.
Shuler said Exxon’s use of temporary workers to run the refinery created the risk of an industrial accident. Temporary workers have no experience and training of permanent employees, he wrote.
“We believe the risk of an industrial accident at the Beaumont complex can be better mitigated by negotiating a mutual and pleasant end to the closure.”
Exxon spokeswoman Julie King dismissed the concerns. “We continue to operate Beaumont safely and reliably with a highly competent staff of supervisors and engineers,” he said in an email.
Shuler’s letter to director Susan Avery, chair of the board’s public affairs and contributions committee, was dated Aug. 30, the day Exxon rejected the last of three proposals made by the union’s premises. United Steelworkers (USW) on 12-243 last month to end the shutdown. .
“USW has filed unfair labor practices charges at the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that Exxon Mobil made unilateral changes illegally in the permanent terms and conditions of employment and supported a desertification campaign union, ”Shuler said.
The USW has said the company’s proposal would require its members to relinquish long-standing seniority and create a separate contract for workers at the lubricating oil plant than workers at the refinery.
Exxon has said the proposal would give it flexibility to be profitable in low-margin environments.
Report by Erwin Seba Edition by Chris Reese and Grant McCool