UPDATE 1-Union, Exxon scrap over refinery contract, safety

Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:53pm GMT

* USW says Exxon has failed to offer key safety provision

* Talks for a new contract to continue till mid-June

HOUSTON, April 27 (Reuters) - Negotiations for a new contract covering hourly workers at Exxon Mobil Corp's refinery in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has become a scrap over a proposal on worker safety, The United Steelworkers union (USW) said on F rid ay.

Exxon and the USW are negotiating a new three-year contract during a 75-day extension from the previous three-year pact covering workers at the 502,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery, Exxon's second-largest and the third largest in the country.

The USW said Exxon has failed to offer a key safety provision of the national contract agreed to by oil companies and the USW in February, and which four of Exxon's refineries approved at that time.

"All Exxon Mobil management has to do is treat us equally, is give us the same (national agreement) as they have offered to Billings, Beaumont, Torrance and Chalmette (refineries)," said Kenneth Duke, president of the USW local union in Baton Rouge. "This is all the company has to do to bring us a contract that we can ratify."

An Exxon spokeswoman said the company was disappointed that workers did not have an opportunity to vote on its most recent contract offer at Baton Rouge.

"We are disappointed that the United Steelworkers rejected our most recent offer, including wage increases that match the industry pattern," said Exxon spokeswoman Stephanie Cargile.

USW spokeswoman Lynne Hancock said the Baton Rouge members did not vote on the contract proposal because it did not match the national contract.   Continued...

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