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Tosco Pact Accepted by Union; 100 to Lose Jobs

Labor: Activists and those in ill health are being laid off, Local 1-675 says. The oil firm, which is buying Unocal's refineries, says it has no information on the charges.

March 31, 1997|DENISE GELLENE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Union workers at the four California refineries being acquired by Tosco Corp. have ratified a contract that eliminates more than 100 jobs, ending contentious negotiations but fueling a new round of divisiveness.

Representatives of the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers union said many of the people being dismissed are either union activists or are in poor health. About 900 union members work at the refineries in Wilmington, Carson, Santa Maria and San Francisco.

"We think for some reason, these people were targeted," said David Campbell, secretary treasurer of Local 1-675, which represents about 550 workers at the Southern California refineries.

A representative of Tosco said Sunday that she had no information regarding the allegations.

Stamford, Conn.-based Tosco is buying the refineries from El Segundo-based Unocal Corp., which is withdrawing from the gasoline business. The $1.4-billion transaction includes the sale of the refineries, 1,100 gas stations and the 76 brand name, and is expected to be completed today.

Tosco, in its dealings with the OCAW, lived up to its reputation as a tough negotiator. It had threatened to close the refinery in San Francisco and contract out maintenance at other refineries if a pact wasn't approved, causing one union official to complain "a gun was held to our head."

Unocal said workers not being hired by Tosco will be on paid leave until the refineries change hands.

The OCAW local that represents workers in San Francisco reportedly plans to file wrongful termination charges with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Unocal.

But a Unocal representative said it was not involved in decisions about refinery staffing.

"All those decisions were Tosco's," Unocal spokesman Barry Lane said.

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