USW Commends Justice Department's Objection to Grupo Mexico's Plan for ASARCO

Contact: Terry Bonds: (505) 878-9756

(Pittsburgh) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today praised the United States Department of Justice (DOJ)  and the Attorneys General of nine states for their September 12, 2008 filing with the Bankruptcy Court in which they forcefully opposed the effort of Grupo Mexico and its affiliates to regain control of ASARCO.  In the filing, the DOJ and nine co-signing states urged that the Bankruptcy Court give no further consideration to Grupo Mexico’s proposed Plan of Reorganization for ASARCO and instead go forward solely with the ASARCO plan at the confirmation hearings in November. 

The co-signing states included Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey and Washington.

“We are pleased to see the Department of Justice and the nine states’ stance and their efforts to hold Grupo Mexico accountable for its outrageous conduct,” said Terry Bonds, Director of USW District 12.  “Along with the recent court decision against Grupo Mexico concerning the fraudulent conveyance of ASARCO’s Southern Peru Copper shares, which concluded that Grupo had mislead the public and the DOJ and taken action to delay and hinder creditors from receiving payment on their claims, this filing by the DOJ represents a very positive turn of events in the ASARCO Bankruptcy Case.”

According to the DOJ and the nine states, Grupo Mexico has squandered its opportunity to propose a plan which would provide for meaningful settlement of ASARCO’s outstanding liabilities.  Grupo’s proposal is especially disturbing in light of the fact that it has already been found by a United States District Court to have defrauded creditors and mislead the public and the DOJ.  Worse, as the filing emphasizes, many of ASARCO’s liabilities represent real dangers to the health and welfare of many communities throughout the United States.

The DOJ’s filing relates that Grupo Mexico has ignored the Bankruptcy Court’s admonitions that it try to seek settlements with key constituents.  Over the last few months Grupo has made no settlement proposals to the DOJ to resolve ASARCO’s environmental liabilities.  In fact, Grupo has suggested that the environmental claimants should not even have the right to vote on its proposed Plan of Reorganization.

The filing goes on to warn that the Grupo Plan does not take into account the danger of a strike by union members working at ASARCO if Grupo regains control and how such a labor dispute could further affect creditor recoveries.

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