NEWS RELEASE PRESS RELEASE
OIL, CHEMICAL & ATOMIC WORKERS INT'L. UNION, AFL-CIO
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 4, 1999
CONTACT: Lynne Baker, OCAW Communications Director,
Statoil Tells Crown Central Petroleum that Business
Dealings Will End if Crown's Labor Problems are not
Lakewood, Colo. - The Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical
Workers Union (NOPEF) has informed the Oil, Chemical &
Atomic Workers International Union (OCAW) that Statoil
has told Crown Central Petroleum in a letter that it will
not renew its contract with Crown or discuss an expansion
of its business with the company until normal
relationships are established with OCAW at Crown's
Pasadena, Tex., refinery.
Statoil had signed in August 1998 a two-year agreement
for Crown to refine Statoil's crude oil into finished
products for the North American market.
"Since Statoil is Crown's major partner, we believe this
is a highly unusual action by a multinational oil company
and further isolates Crown as a corporate outlaw, bully
and union-buster on the world scene," said OCAW President
Robert Wages. "This should send a strong message to other
oil companies not to deal with Crown, and we applaud
NOPEF for communicating our concerns to Statoil's
management and board."
After an investigation of crown's union-busting in Sept.
1998, NOPEF President Lars Myhre stated that "Statoil
products should not be tainted by their association with
By pairing one of the worst oil companies in the world
with Statoil - which became the first multinational oil
company to sign an international agreement to support
labor and human rights - the contradiction became too
much for Statoil to bear," said Wages.
"While we applaud Statoil for taking this position, the
company is obviously embarrassed for not doing its
homework on Crown's human and labor rights record before
signing this agreement," said Wages. "This was not the
way for Statoil to introduce its products to the North
The national boycott against Crown at its Crown, Fast
Fare and Zippy Mart gas stations and convenience stores
has increased dramatically in recent months. In addition
to Crown's union-busting, the company has been accused of
discriminating against women and African-Americans and of
environmental racism for polluting low-income and largely
Latino neighborhoods which surround its Pasadena
In August, Crown received a $1.1 million fine from the
Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, which was
the largest air pollution fine in Texas history.
Further proof of Crown's continued isolation is a
decision by the American Trading and Production Company,
Inc. (Atapco) - Crown's largest stockholder - to
relinquish its ownership of Crown stock. Atapco consists
of the inherited wealth of Louis and Jacob Blaustein, the
founders of Amoco. It filed papers with the Securities
and Exchange Commission to separate its holdings into
three separate companies and to give its Crown stock to
the family of Crown CEO Henry Rosenberg, Jr., which is
one of three major branches of the extended Blaustein
family, in exchange for the remainder of the Rosenberg
family's Atapco holdings.
"Even Crown's largest shareholder has had enough of Henry
Rosenberg and is trying to get out of the line of fire,"
Crown stock has been rocked in recent months, and at
times it has dropped to below $7 per share, the lowest in
its history. Moody's has given Crown a negative debt
rating, and Crown shareholders recently filed a lawsuit
against Crown board members and management for
malfeasance and presiding over an 80 percent drop in
Crown stock during a decade of unprecedented increases in
the U.S. stock market and in the stock of other
independent U.S. oil companies.
The lawsuit alleges that Crown's management and board
have rewarded Henry Rosenberg and his two sons, while
ignoring shareholder value.
Crown locked out its OCAW union workers at its Pasadena
refinery in February 1996 after it failed to force OCAW
members to strike. The company used trumped-up charges of
sabotage to justify the lockout in its attempt to destroy
the union at its Pasadena refinery.
OCAW, which represents most of the unionized oil workers
in the U.S., has convened a constitutional convention
this week in Las Vegas, to merge with the United
Paperworkers International Union and form a combined
union of 320,000 members.