PONCA CITY, Oklahoma --A new contract for workers at Continental Carbon Co.'s Ponca City carbon black plant has ended a 3Â½-year lockout.
Members of Local 5-857 of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union ratified a new five-year contract Dec. 2 by a 3-1 margin. The lockout of 86 workers began May 8, 2001, after the previous three-year pact between the company and union expired.
It was the longest labor lockout in the history of Oklahoma, PACE said.
The labor dispute began over economic issues, but PACE's corporate campaign helped spur environmental lawsuits, demonstrations and communications involving Continental Carbon's customers and questions about the company's product quality in Ponca City.
Now the two sides must work together. "We look forward to beginning a new and productive relationship based on mutual respect," said Lloyd Walters, PACE Region Seven vice president. "Both sides have to put the past behind them to ensure the long-term success of the company, fair treatment of workers and an improved community."
The agreement is good news for the company, the employees in Ponca City and their families, and the local communities, customers and suppliers affected by the dispute, said Continental Carbon President Kim K.T. Pan. "I am heartened by this development and look forward to renewing the relationship with PACE at Ponca City," Pan said. "We welcome our employees back to work. We have a lot of catching up to do."