The local chapter of the United Steelworkers Union has filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against ExxonMobil’s Baton Rouge chemical plant, accusing management of unfair labor practices.
The complaint was filed earlier this week with the NLRB and stems from a contract dispute between USW Local 13-12 and the plant. A contract between plant workers and the union expired on March 31 and there had been dissension among members.
ExxonMobil released a statement that said it had not been notified by the NLRB about any recently filed complaint and was therefore unable to comment on specific allegations.
“Negotiations with the union were successfully concluded in May with the membership voting to accept ExxonMobil’s contract settlement offer,” said a statement from Jennifer Hughes, a company spokeswoman.
“A new three-year collective bargaining agreement has been signed by ExxonMobil and the union, and is in place until 2015,” Hughes said.
According to the complaint, ExxonMobil set an arbitrary date to end negotiations with the union and insisted that the membership vote on its proposal.
The local union claims ExxonMobil refused to bargain with it and solicited support for a plan to decertify the labor group.
The union said ExxonMobil and one of its agents met directly with individual employees and discussed future contract terms.
At the same time, the company did not allow Local 13-12 to meet privately with newly hired apprentices, deviating from a practice that had been allowed for 45 years, the union said.
In another break with long-standing practice, the union said ExxonMobil refused to jointly coordinate grievance hearings, instead setting up the meetings without regard for the availability of the designated Local 13-12 representative.
Finally, the union said ExxonMobil allowed an employee to make a violent threat against a national USW officer, while on company time and on company equipment, without punishment.
Hughes said it is ExxonMobil’s practice to negotiate in good faith and engage in responsible, meaningful dialogue with the union.