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Non-Salaried Texaco workers want in on the settlement

February 6, 1997

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Six black Texaco employees who are not included in the proposed settlement of a race discrimination suit have asked permission to intervene, saying they suffered more than workers who stand to receive an average $60,000 each.

Because the $176 million settlement covers only ``salaried″ employees, it leaves out field workers and others who were paid hourly, attorney Bob Weininger said today.

``They’re at the low end of the pay range,″ Weininger said. ``Some were denied, because of their skin color, the chance to get into the salaried ranks. ... Their treatment was more inflammatory.″

He estimates there are up to 300 such workers and claims they thought they were being included in the settlement until last month, when notice was sent to the 1,342 members of the class. The motion to intervene was filed late Wednesday.

The lawsuit against Texaco was settled quickly in November after the disclosure of tape-recorded conversations in which executives belittled black employees and plotted the destruction of documents sought by the plaintiffs. The company endured a boycott, revamped its workplace procedures, fired one executive and punished three others.

One executive has been accused of obstructing justice and apparently is cooperating with federal prosecutors.

The proposed settlement, which could be finalized next month, describes the covered class as ``all African-Americans employed in a salaried position subject to the Texaco Merit Salary Program.″ It would distribute $115 million to them, less lawyers’ fees and expenses. The rest of the settlement money goes for salary increases to current black employees and for a five-year task force to determine and oversee changes in the company’s personnel policies.

Dan Berger, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the class was limited to salaried workers ``because that’s the case we brought.″

``It was essentially a glass ceiling promotion case. ... The people we claimed were victims were those subject to the evaluation process and eligible for promotion.″ He said he would oppose the motion to intervene.

Jim Swords, a Texaco spokesman, said the company had not seen the papers and therefore would not comment.

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