Independent Laboratory Employee's Union - Members and the community shows support during ULP Strike

May 3, 2019



 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


As planned, the ILEU has concluded its Unfair Labor Practice warning Strike on May 3 at 6:00 pm.  The Union ordered its members to return to work unconditionally.  Most workers at the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering in Clinton, NJ will return to work on Monday, May 6.


The strike was successful in protesting the illegal tactics and Unfair Labor Practices perpetrated by ExxonMobil, raising awareness of our issues to the community, and showing the support of the membership.  


The bargaining committee is heartened and inspired by the support we have received. Over 60 different members manned the picket lines.  The community offered support by honking horns and giving thumbs up to all those in red who were holding signs and chanting.  Many non-represented ExxonMobil employees showed their support as well by not crossing the line.


Union leadership will return to the bargaining table with the Company on May 7.   Additional sessions are scheduled for May 9 and May 23.




 



Independent Laboratory Employee’s Union

May 1, 2019

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Independent Laboratory Employee’s Union has called for an Unfair Labor Practice Strike against ExxonMobil Research and Engineering, a first in the Union’s 75 year history.

 

Overview

The Independent Laboratory Employee’s Union (ILEU) represents around 190 employees at the ExxonMobil Research and Engineering site, located in Clinton, New Jersey.  The Union is comprised of Research Technicians, Mechanics, Information Technicians, Materials Coordinators, Maintenance and Operations Assistants, Electronics Technicians, Graphic Designers, Admins, Utilities Operators and Wastewater Treatment Plant Operators.  

 

This site employs over 1200 people and is home to ExxonMobil’s Research and Engineering (EMRE) Technology Center, a facility comprised of 432 labs, 92 pilot plants and 850 offices.  The dual challenge of reducing carbon emissions while meeting the growing need for energy across the globe is a huge focus of this site.  Many of the employees featured in recent ExxonMobil commercials and advertisements work in Clinton and are represented by the ILEU.


Contraction Negotiations

Negotiations between the ILEU and ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company representatives began on May 7th, 2018, and continue to this day.  The contract between the ILEU and the Company expired on June 21, 2018 after a brief extension.  The represented employees on site have been working without a contract for over 330 days.  The ILEU and the Company have met for 25 bargaining sessions.  Despite every attempt to reach a mutually acceptable contract by the Union, the Company has continuously insisted on permissive and illegal provisions.  The Union has attempted numerous proposals with the Company to try and bring the terms closer to a fair, legal agreement, but has been met with willful denial of all allegations and a blatant disregard for the law.  The Union had no other choice but to file Unfair Labor Practice charges against the Company for its inexorable bad faith bargaining.  Charges were filed in June 2018 (22-CA-223073) and November 2018 (22-CA-232016).

 

The investigating attorneys for the National Labor Relations Board reviewed full transcripts of the first 21 bargaining sessions between the ILEU and the Company.  The NLRB also received every proposal, from both sides, handed across the table during bargaining, as well as any other document relevant to contract negotiations.  Upon receiving testimony from members of the Union and representatives of the Company, the NLRB filed a formal complaint against the Company on January 29th, 2019.  In this public document, the NLRB accuses the Company of bargaining in bad faith, disparaging and denigrating the Union in its communications to its employees, insisting on language that is repugnant to the [National Labor Relations] Act, and unilaterally implementing changes without bargaining with the Union. On March 19 through March 21, 2019 a hearing was conducted before an administrative law judge of the National Labor Relations Board in Newark, New Jersey.  The results of the hearing are still pending, but the ILEU is very confident we will prevail.

Meanwhile, bad faith action on the part of the Company continued despite pending charges, and the NLRB swiftly amended the complaint to include these new actions.  The complaint was amended to address actions on the part of the Company making implicit promises to represented employees toward receiving certain benefits should they decertify the Union.  The Company continues to dismiss all allegations in its communications to employees and has not amended its existing offer in order to meet the requests by the Union to bargain in good faith.


Current Negotiation Status

EMRE is insisting upon permanently contracting multiple positions represented by the ILEU.  Their current wage offer is a non- retroactive 4 –year contract with wage increases of 1%, 1.5%, 2.0, and 2.5%.  The current offer for Parental Paid Time Off is one week, in contrast with eight weeks offered to all non-unionized employees. 

 

ExxonMobil Corporation recent contract negotiations with other Unions

At both the Billings Refinery in Montana and the Baton Rouge Refinery in Louisiana, ExxonMobil has reached contracts earlier this year with the USW 11-470 and USW 13-12, respectively.  The wage increases for both of the  3-year contracts were 3.5%, 3.5%, and 4.0%.  ExxonMobil is sending a clear message as to how it values the refining portion of the business versus research into solving the world’s climate change issues.


Strike Notification

The bargaining committee has called for a ULP warning strike on May 2 and May 3, 2019.  When the parties return to the table, the Union is hopeful that EMRE will begin bargaining in good faith, and abide by the NLRA, and put forth proposals to reach a fair agreement.

 

Contact: 

Michael Myers (President, ILEU)  president@ileu.org

ILEU Office Phone:   908-923-4939

URL:  http://www.ileu.org/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ILEUnion/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Ileu3


Negotiations: Current Status - March 26, 2019


  • The previous Collective Bargaining Agreement between the Company and Union was effective June 1, 2013 through May 31, 2018.

  • Contract negotiations commenced May 7, 2018.  As of February 2019, the Company and Union met 23 times.

  • On May 25, 2018, Arbitrator Klein ruled on Arbitration 15-190.  The ruling stated  the Company must cease and desist from permanently contracting out represented positions.  

  • On May 31, 2018, EMRE introduced radically new contracting language in response to the arbitration ruling.  The Company proposed a contract extension until June 8, 2018 with a 48 hr cancellation notice by either side.  From this point forward, the Company has insisted upon their new contracting language.

  • At end of Day 11 of bargaining on June 8, the Company stated the conversations were productive and important to reaching an agreement.

  • To begin Day 12 of bargaining on June 19, the Company provided notice of cancelling the extension of the contract, ending the extension on June 21, 2018.

  • On June 20, 2018, the ILEU filed to confirm Arbitration 15-190.

  • On June 29, 2018, the Company issued a Last, Best, and Final offer.  That same day the ILEU  filed an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) due to the Company bargaining in bad faith and the illegality of the offer.  The case number is 22-CA-223073 (link is below).

  • At a Special Meeting on July 10, 2018, the ILEU membership voted for a Strike Authorization due to EMRE's Unfair Labor Practices and bargaining in bad faith.

  • On November 29, 2018 after Day 20 of bargaining, the ILEU filed another ULP  due to coercive statements and continuing to bargain in bad faith.  The case number is 22-CA-232016 (link is below).

  • The NLRB issued a Complaint covering the ULP filed in June (22-CA-223073) on January 29, 2019.  The Complaint was amended on February 21, 2019 incorporating charges from the 22-CA-232016 charge.  (SEE PDF BELOW FOR ALL DETAILS).  The complaint was amended again (see Notice to Amend Complaint).

  • A hearing before an administrated law judge was held from March 19, 2019 through March 21, 2019 in Newark, NJ.  Briefs from each side are to be submitted by April 25, 2019.  the ALJ will issue a ruling at a later date.

  • The next bargaining session is being arranged for April 2019.




Open Items on the Bargaining Table


  1. Changing the Scope of the Bargaining Unit/ Permanently Contracting out represented positions
    • ExxonMobil seeks to change the makeup of the bargaining unit.  They no longer wish to hire Mechanics (electricians, plumbers, HVAC, etc), Maintenance and Operations Assistants, Materials Coordinators, Services Trainees, or Admins as employees.
    • The ILEU filed for arbitration in 2016 over ExxonMobil’s contracting abuse and had a decision rendered in our favor on May 25, 2018 (see CBA and Legal Awards tab, Arbitration 15-190)

  2. Parental Paid Time Off (PPTO)
    • In November 2017, ExxonMobil rolled out a new benefit to all ExxonMobil employees EXCEPT union represented employees in the United States granting 8 weeks of Paid Leave to any new parent through birth or adoption.  The ILEU has attempted to bargain for the benefit.  
    • The Company's current offer is 1 week of PPTO and the Company stated if represented employees want 8 weeks of PPTO, they should "walk away from the bargaining unit."
    • See the PPTO page for more information on the Company’s rollout of the benefit.

  3. Personal Time
    • The ILEU proposed more than seven different variations of a Personal Time policy, or excused time with pay.  
    • Personal time was an accepted past practice until the Company unilaterally changed their policy in 2016.
    • Most other unions inside of ExxonMobil as well as all non-represented employees include a Personal Time Policy in their compensation package.  Prior to relocating to Clinton due to the NJ Relocation Project, Mobilab union members from the Paulsboro facility received Personal Time.

  4. Wages
    • ExxonMobil Research & Engineering current wage offer for a four year contract is 1% Year 1, 1.5% Year 2, 2.0% Year 3, and 2.5% Year 4 with no retroactivity (therefore 0% from June 2018 until present) with a $2,500 ratification bonus.
    • The Company’s proposed wages do not meet projected inflation.
    • ExxonMobil's recent contracts with other unions have averaged more than 3% each year of the contract.
    • In a handout to represented employees, the Company promised non-represented employees are paid higher wages.




Relavant Links and Documents


 


 



Related Court Documents

Updated Complaint February -21-2019 for 22-CA-218903, 22-CA-223073, and 22-CA-232016.pdf
Notice to Amend Complaint.pdf