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La. Conoco Workers OK Contract

July 24, 2002

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WESTLAKE, La. (AP) _ Union members at Conoco Inc.’s refinery here approved a new four-year contract Tuesday, ending more than a month of talks and a call to strike.

The Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Local Union 4-555 had recommended that its 500-plus members approve the latest offer from Conoco.

Last week, union members rejected Conoco’s original proposal by a 3-to-1 margin and called a strike, but a federal mediator got talks going again before the strike deadline.

PACE held information seminars all day Monday to tell maintenance and operations workers what was different in the new proposal.

Conoco refused to change its mandatory drug testing policy, but did change its demand that 30 percent of the refinery’s maintenance and operations employees work scheduled on-call overtime.

The union had not objected to drug tests, but to a clause that would let the refinery change the policy at any time and one which bars union members from filing grievances over drug tests.

The new overtime proposal gives maintenance and operations workers a way to track craft work so employees can stay off mandatory call-out.

The revised contract was released after more than 30 days of negotiations with the refinery, two strike notices and nearly 12 hours of crisis meetings.

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