PACE International Union Says Pennzoil Threatens Shutdown of Refinery

Apr 04, 2001, 01:00 ET from PACE International Union

    SHREVEPORT, La., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Paper, Allied-
 Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) Local 4-245
 have been in bargaining with Pennzoil since early February over the proposed
 sale of its refinery here.  Pennzoil entered the intent-to-sell agreement on
 January 16, 2001 with a potential buyer, stopping any opportunity to seek
 additional buyers or investors.  Pennzoil has said, for sometime now, that if
 a sale did not go through, it would shut down the refinery.
     A current contract in place with PACE Local 4-245 has blocked the
 completion of a sale, due to successor language requiring the contract be
 passed on as a part of any purchase.  Local 4-245 was asked to give up three-
 quarters of its members in job losses because of this proposed sale.  The
 local said a poor severance package was also put forth to try and make this
 happen.  Pennzoil also wants to keep all excess monies from an over-funded
 pension plan.
     "The estimated amount of over-funding is in the $30 million range," said
 Jimmy Roan, PACE Region Six international representative.  "More senior
 workers could be forced to retire at greatly reduced benefits."
     With no agreement in sight and limited negotiations happening, it is
 becoming a moment of truth for the workers as well as the community, said the
 local.  With a refinery of this size comes a responsibility to keep the
 community safe from any risk of environmental concerns.  In an OSHA Regional
 news release dated July 20, 2000, Pennzoil agreed not to contest safety
 citations issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
 and to pay a $160,000 penalty, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.  These
 citations and penalty are a result of a fire and explosion at the Shreveport
 refinery that occurred January 18, 2000 and injured three workers.
     Pennzoil is threatening to shut down the refinery, unless workers accept
 severely reduced pensions.  PACE International Union's Special Projects
 Division is being alerted to assist the local in this fight for a just
 resolution with Pennzoil or, better still, a different buyer committed to jobs
 and the community.  The local continues to informational picket at the
 facility on a regular basis, and other actions are being planned in response
 to the company's continued pressure of acceptance of its plan.  The loss of
 jobs would have lasting impact on area businesses where union members shop or
 use their services.
     "We want to work with this community that has supported the refinery over
 the years to find a good employer for our members," said Johnny Welch Local 4-
 245 president.
 
 

SOURCE PACE International Union
    SHREVEPORT, La., April 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Members of the Paper, Allied-
 Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union (PACE) Local 4-245
 have been in bargaining with Pennzoil since early February over the proposed
 sale of its refinery here.  Pennzoil entered the intent-to-sell agreement on
 January 16, 2001 with a potential buyer, stopping any opportunity to seek
 additional buyers or investors.  Pennzoil has said, for sometime now, that if
 a sale did not go through, it would shut down the refinery.
     A current contract in place with PACE Local 4-245 has blocked the
 completion of a sale, due to successor language requiring the contract be
 passed on as a part of any purchase.  Local 4-245 was asked to give up three-
 quarters of its members in job losses because of this proposed sale.  The
 local said a poor severance package was also put forth to try and make this
 happen.  Pennzoil also wants to keep all excess monies from an over-funded
 pension plan.
     "The estimated amount of over-funding is in the $30 million range," said
 Jimmy Roan, PACE Region Six international representative.  "More senior
 workers could be forced to retire at greatly reduced benefits."
     With no agreement in sight and limited negotiations happening, it is
 becoming a moment of truth for the workers as well as the community, said the
 local.  With a refinery of this size comes a responsibility to keep the
 community safe from any risk of environmental concerns.  In an OSHA Regional
 news release dated July 20, 2000, Pennzoil agreed not to contest safety
 citations issued by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration
 and to pay a $160,000 penalty, announced the U.S. Department of Labor.  These
 citations and penalty are a result of a fire and explosion at the Shreveport
 refinery that occurred January 18, 2000 and injured three workers.
     Pennzoil is threatening to shut down the refinery, unless workers accept
 severely reduced pensions.  PACE International Union's Special Projects
 Division is being alerted to assist the local in this fight for a just
 resolution with Pennzoil or, better still, a different buyer committed to jobs
 and the community.  The local continues to informational picket at the
 facility on a regular basis, and other actions are being planned in response
 to the company's continued pressure of acceptance of its plan.  The loss of
 jobs would have lasting impact on area businesses where union members shop or
 use their services.
     "We want to work with this community that has supported the refinery over
 the years to find a good employer for our members," said Johnny Welch Local 4-
 245 president.
 
 SOURCE  PACE International Union