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More Texaco employees want in on the settlement

February 6, 1997

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Six black workers who would be left out of Texaco’s gigantic race-discrimination settlement say they deserve the money even more than those who are getting it.

The proposed settlement excludes ``arguably the group most in need of a voice,″ according to court papers filed late Wednesday, ``African-Americans who toil in lower-level salaried and hourly positions who have been denied promotions.″

The $176 million settlement was quickly reached 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.

If approved by a federal judge it would include a payout of $115 million _ less lawyers’ fees and expenses _ to the 1,342 ``African-Americans employed in a salaried position subject to the Texaco Merit Salary Program″ at any time between 1991 and 1996. They could get average lump sums of about $60,000.

Of the six workers who filed a motion to intervene on Wednesday, five are paid hourly rather than salaried. The one salaried worker is apparently not covered by the merit program, which according to the original suit was applied unfairly to black employees, resulting in a lack of promotions and pay raises. The papers estimate 100 to 300 other workers are in the same circumstances.

``They’re field workers,″ said Bob Weininger, the lawyer representing the excluded employees. ``They’re paid hourly and they’re at the low end of the pay range.″

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

Dan Berger, a lawyer for the plaintiffs in the original case, said he would oppose the motion because the deal was negotiated to cover a set number of employees. The lawyers would have likely sought more money to cover hourly employees, he said.

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