After two years of serious negotiations between the United Paperworkers Intl. Union (UPIU) and the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers Intl. Union (OCAW), delegates to both unions’ merger conventions approved the formation of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers Intl. Union (PACE) on January 4, 1999. This merger capped discussions about joining forces that began in 1979.

The desire to merge sprang from  the realization by both organizations that with greater resources, they could organize more workers and represent their members better in an age of corporate mergers and global competition.

PACE represents 275,000 workers in the pulp, paper, automobile parts, appliance manufacturing, cement, kaolin, oil, chemical, nuclear materials, and pharmaceutical industries. Other sectors include health care, aviation, natural gas distribution, and mining. It is the fourth largest industrial union.

The union has 1,500 locals in the U.S. and Canada, and is structured into 11 regions. Governing the union between conventions is the international union executive board that consists of the elected international officers.

Delegates to the PACE constitutional convention held every four years elect the international union president, executive vice president, secretary, and treasurer by a majority vote. Convention delegates from each region form regional caucuses to elect the vice presidents and rank-and-file advisory board members from that region. The rank-and-file advisory board expresses the concerns of the membership to the international executive board.