Oil Strike bumps at pay ceiling

The first major strike of 1980 has idled more than 50,000 oil workers, but it is not expected to have any immediate impact on US heating oil and gasoline supplies.

The Jan. 8 walkout by members of the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers (OCAW) will be watched closely by government, business, and other unions for possible precedents for bargaining later this year. Oil workers, restless under steadily rising inflation. Want substantially larger wage and benefit gains than existing federal guidelines would sanction.

Those guidelines now are likely to be revised upward, from 7 percent to between 7.5 to 9 percent, figures recommended informally by a presidential advisory committee meeting in Washington Jan. 8. The proposal will be reviewed in two weeks. If the committee, headed by John T. Dunlop of Harvard University, formally approves the revision, the final decision will be made by Alfred Kahn, Mr. Carter's economic adviser, and by the President himself.

Despite the current wage guideline, settlements have been averaging about 8 percent. The oil industry had offered workers increases of up to 9 percent before the strike began. The emphasis in negotiations in Denver has been on benefits gains, such as fully paid health insurance, and on additional time off with pay.

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