By ALISON SIDER
HOUSTON -- ExxonMobil and a union representing workers at
the company's refinery in Baytown, Texas, reached
a tentative agreement over contract language on safety, a
dispute that the union said earlier this week could lead to a
strike if not resolved.
A spokesman for the United Steelworkers local at Baytown
said Exxon agreed to implement a fatigue management system
regulating how many days in a row someone can work and to
accept a process safety representative position in the new
three year contract.
"We had been at a standstill on those two items before the
bargaining session," USW spokesman Lynne Hancock said in an
Exxon spokeswoman Patty Errico confirmed that the two sides
had reached a tentative agreement, but declined to provide
"We look forward to moving ahead together and maintaining
the good working relationships our employees share with us and
one another," Ms. Errico said.
The 584,000 bpd refinery is the second largest in
the US. The facility's 850 union employees will vote on the
deal May 14 and 15, USW spokesman Richard Landry said.
If the majority of the members accept the agreement, it will
avert a strike the union had said could go into effect June 15
unless Exxon agreed to new contract language on safety at the
The union cited recent safety issues including a rupture in
an Exxon pipeline in Arkansas and a fire at Exxon's Beaumont,
Texas, refinery last month in pushing for
additional safety standards. It had said similar provisions
were already in place at other Exxon refineries in Torrance,
California; Billings, Montana; Chalmette, Louisiana; and
Dow Jones Newswires