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    Strike Averted

    Conoco workers ratify pacts in Denver, Montana.

    HOUSTON -- Unionized workers at Conoco Inc.'s refineries in Billings, Mont., and Denver ratified new contracts after months of negotiations, the Paper Allied-Industrial Chemical & Energy Workers Union (PACE) reported.

    Workers at the two plants ratified the contracts after negotiators worked out language that protected the integrity of existing agreements, PACE said.

    The Billings plant has 162 workers and the Denver plant has 132.

    Conoco's 400 workers at a refinery at Ponca City, Okla, ratified a contact in April.

    The contract for workers at Conoco's refinery in Lake Charles, Louisiana, expires in July. Most of the nation's refineries ratified contracts earlier this year, using a national agreement as a pattern for their own agreements.

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