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Union Workers Reject Shell Deal

HOUSTON -- The union representing three oil companies related to Royal Dutch/Shell yesterday rejected a three-year contract extension offer ahead of the Thursday expiration of current terms, company and union officials said.

There doesn't appear to be a threat of work stoppages at this point, according to Lynne Baker, spokeswoman for the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International (PACE) union.

Although the rejection covers workers only from the three Shell-related firms, it could possibly affect oil-industry workers at all major oil firms across the United States, she said. That's because the Shell-related firms - Equilon Enterprises LLC, Motiva Enterprises LLC and Shell Chemical - are acting as the "lead company" in talks with PACE, Reuters reported.

What is agreed between the lead company's negotiators and PACE officials will be used as a standard for the majority of the nation's oil industry workers, said Gail Schutz, spokeswoman for the Shell-related firms.

The Shell offer called for a raise in pay for workers of 60 cents per hour for the contract's first year, and subsequent annual increases in pay of 3 percent and 3.5 percent. It also called for a night shift differential of 75 cents an hour and an overnight shift difference of $1.25 an hour, a 25-cent rise from the current contract in both cases.

The contracts for workers at major firms such as Exxon Mobil Corp., ChevronTexaco, Phillips Petroleum Co. and BP plc are affected, Baker said. Contracts for six Motiva and Equiva and Shell refineries are among those that expire Thursday.
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