NEWS from the North American Regional Office of the
International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers'
Kenneth S. Zinn, North American Regional Coordinator
Tel: (202) 842-7892/Fax: (202) 842-78801
For Immediate Release
World Union Role in Crown Central Settlement
FIVE-YEAR OIL LOCK-OUT ENDS
WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 18-- The bitter labor dispute at Crown Central
Petroleum company is over.
Members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers
International Union (PACE) in Pasadena, Texas, have ratified a new agreement with Crown,
the union announced today.
The vote yesterday by members of the union's Local 4-227 ends a dispute
marked by a five-year lockout at the Crown refinery in Pasadena and by a sophisticated union
campaign against the company.
"We are pleased that our members are returning to work under a union
contract that provides essential guarantees and protections," said PACE President Boyd Young.
"It is time to put rancor aside and work with Crown to improve the operation of the refinery
and its environmental compliance, while ensuring long-term job security and
fundamental rights for our members."
"The return of PACE members to the refinery is a great victory, and
we are grateful that peace has been declared by both sides," said PACE Executive Vice President
Robert Wages, who directed the settlement talks. "We look forward to an improved relationship
with the company."
Wages paid particular tribute to the Norwegian oil workers' union NOPEF
and to the 20-million-strong International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine
and General Workers' Unions (ICEM) for their role in the campaign. Former NOPEF President
Lars Myhre, who chairs the ICEM energy section, lobbied oil multinational Statoil to put pressure
on Crown over the dispute.
"We express our profound appreciation to Lars Myhre and NOPEF along
with the ICEM for informing Statoil about Crown's labor record," Wages said. "In October
2000, this led Statoil to cancel its contract for the processing of Statoil's crude
oil at Crown's Pasadena refinery."
Crown was undoubtedly keen to recover the valuable Statoil contract,
which used 35 percent of the Pasadena refinery capacity and 20 percent of Crown's overall capacity.
The ICEM has a global agreement with Statoil on trade union rights and
other issues. Both PACE and NOPEF are ICEM affiliates.
"Lars Myhre's visit with our locked-out workers in Pasadena, Texas and
his acts of international solidarity will long be remembered," Wages said.
Joe Campbell, Financial Secretary of Local 4-227, said: "Our locked-out
members stood tall for five years, and we express our deep thanks to our International
union for its financial support and successful campaign, and to our PACE members and locals
who contributed generously to our hardship fund."
Mack Hickerson, Local 4-227 President, gave special recognition to "the
thousands of labor, civil rights, religious and environmental activists who rallied around
our cause and gave life to our campaign."
The new agreement provides wage increases of approximately 11.5 percent
in the first thirteen months, with additional wage increases based on forthcoming national
oil bargaining. Importantly, it protects seniority rights; preserves jobs and the union
contract if the refinery is sold; keeps Crown's Pasadena refinery as part of national
oil bargaining; and encompasses a collective bargaining agreement that keeps standards
consistent within the industry.
The lockout of 252 PACE members from Crown's main refinery in Pasadena,
Texas began on February 5, 1996.
PACE represents 320,000 workers in the paper, chemical, energy, atomic
and automotive supply industries.