Exxon Beaumont, Texas, union to ask for talks over planned 401k change

Unionized employees at Exxon Mobil Corp’s (XOM.N) refinery and chemical plant in Beaumont, Texas, will seek negotiations with the company over plans to suspend the employer contribution to their 401K retirement savings plan, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Beaumont United Steelworkers (USW) union is the third USW local planning to demand bargaining on the issue, sources said, after locals in Baytown, Texas, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, made similar demands.

If their demands are refused, the unions can file grievances. If those are declined, the unions can then file complaints with the U.S. National Labor Relations Board.

Exxon said last week it would suspend the corporate 401K contribution, which is equal to 7% of an employee’s pay when an employee contributes 6% of their pay, in early October due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked about the Beaumont union’s plans, Exxon spokeswoman Ashley Alemayehu said, “Exxon Mobil’s total remuneration remains competitive despite the suspension.”

Exxon has not said if the contributions will resume.