News In Brief
The price per barrel of crude oil was back up over $30 on world markets despite the agreement by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in March to increase production by 7 percent. And the US was once again asking the cartel to increase output - this time by more than 500,000 barrels a day - to ease supply concerns with the onset of the summer peak-demand season for gasoline. As part of the March agreement, OPEC also decided that if crude futures prices topped $28 per barrel it would immediately implement another 500,000 barrel-a-day increase. But that has yet to happen, and last week the cartel chose not to hike production for the time being. Meanwhile, a strike by oil workers in Norway, the world's second largest exporter, is cutting the flow of crude by 225,000 barrels a day, reports said.
More than 400 Teamsters went on strike Sunday at the Pepsi bottling plant for the Minneapolis area, and union officials said another 550 members were poised to walk out - possibly last night - at a nearby Coca-Cola plant. In the latter case, however, more mediation had been scheduled. But no new talks were imminent with Pepsi officials, according to a union spokesman, who claimed the company failed to address concerns regarding pensions, health insurance, wages, and the loss of bargaining unit work.
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