Struggle for Justice Continues with Asarco

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The USW and its allies continue to pressure Grupo México and its subsidiary ASARCO over slow-moving contract talks for more than 2,000 hourly workers at copper mines and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas.

The USW leads a coalition of eight international unions that represent workers at ve copper mines and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas owned by ASARCO. Contracts set to expire in late 2018 were extended while negotiations continue.

“Based on previous experience and the company’s persistent, unfair and unrealistic contract demands, we must continue to build unity and solidarity within and between our local unions, our communities and our allies in the labor movement in the U.S. and Mexico,” said District 12 Director Robert LaVenture.

This summer, USW activists and allies attended the Grupo Mexico-sponsored 5th Mexico Gas Summit in San Antonio, Texas, to distribute leaets about the company’s history of labor, environmental and other issues on both sides of the border.

In the former “company towns” where the mine bosses separated workers by culture and language to prevent organizing, ethnic groups were segregated by neighborhood and mostly forced to rely on their employers for everything.

“Our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents joined together to form the unions that provided equal wages for all workers so that management could no longer discriminate in pay against Latinos, women or other minorities,” LaVenture added. “Since then, our communities have thrived to the extent our unions can provide family-supporting jobs to sustain them.”

Separately from the contract negotiations, ASARCO has appealed an arbitrator’s award worth tens of millions of dollars in copper price bonuses wrongly withheld from workers hired after June 30, 2011, to the U.S. Supreme Court after it was upheld by a federal judge and twice armed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Although the Supreme Court is unlikely to hear the case, it is not subject to a firm deadline to announce its determination.

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