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NEWS from the North American Regional Office of the
International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers' Unions
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.


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