Members of the Teamsters and Seven Other Unions are Striking to Protest Grupo Mexico Subsidiary’s Violations of U.S. Labor Laws
(TUCSON, Ariz.) – Teamsters Local 104, along with representatives from seven other international unions, concluded negotiations today without making progress with Grupo Mexico’s subsidiary, ASARCO, over a new contract covering about 2,000 hourly workers at five ASARCO mining locations in Arizona and Texas.
Members of seven international unions, which include the USW, IBEW, IAM, UA, IUOE, and the Boilermakers, have been on an unfair labor practice strike since Oct. 13, when workers rejected the Grupo Mexico subsidiary’s so-called “last, best and final” offer, and struck in protest against ASARCO’s serious violations of federal labor laws.
“Grupo Mexico is a rogue company that believes it can ignore U.S. labor laws, recklessly exploit the environment and abuse U.S. workers and their communities like they do in Mexico,” said Karla Schumann, Secretary-Treasurer of Teamsters Local 104. “Our brave members are striking to demand that ASARCO respect U.S. labor laws and honor the contributions of its dedicated workers.”
Grupo Mexico is the third-largest copper mining company in the United States and one of the most vicious anti-worker companies in the world. “It’s no surprise ASARCO is refusing to bargain in good faith,” said Chris Antone, Teamsters assistant shop steward at the Mission Mine. “After all this is a company, owned by one of the richest families in Mexico, which has refused for over 13 years to help recover the bodies of 63 dead miners killed in a mine explosion in one of its Mexican mines or compensate the families for the loss of their loved ones.”
“Currently the company is relying on scabs to operate the facilities,” said Adrian Teran, Teamsters chief shop steward at Mission Mine. “I’m concerned that the workers being bused in from out-of-state are under-trained and overworked. In 2014, when Grupo relied on scabs to break a strike in Mexico, it led to the release of 40,000 cubic meters of copper sulfate into the Tinajas River and the worst mining disaster in Mexican history. The communities and farmers downstream from that disaster still haven’t recovered.”
Approximately 130 Teamsters, who maintain and operate heavy equipment at ASARCO’s Mission Copper Mine outside of Tucson, have endured 10 years without a pay raise. ASARCO gave its employees what it is calling a “last, best and final offer” that freezes pension plans, leaves two-thirds of the workers without a raise, and more than doubles their out-of-pocket employee paid health care.