PDVSA Managers To Form Union

White collar workers of PDVSA formally introduced a proposal to the Labor Ministry to create a union, the local daily El Nacional reported Wednesday. Around 500 high level managers have signed a petition for the formal creation of the National Union of Oil Workers, or Unapetrol.

Representatives of the new union said that another 1,500 have already subscribed to the union. The union's President is Horacio Medina while Juan Fernandez is a member of the board. Both Medina and Fernandez played a crucial role during the protests in April after President Hugo Chavez replaced PDVSA president Guaicaipuro Lameda and his board. Chavez's move to stack the new board with loyalists and replace Lameda for leftists professor Gaston Parra triggered widespread protests that culminated in a march April 11 that led to the temporary ouster of Chavez.

Upon returning to power, Chavez named Ali Rodriguez as the new PDVSA president. Rodriguez, who will quit his post as Secretary-general of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries at the group's meeting June 26 in Vienna, is seen as the only person capable of restructuring PDVSA after the events in April. PDVSA employs about 40,000 workers of which the majority are regular oil workers who are organized in four different unions.