Striking Workers Stage National Protests to Demand Grupo Mexico Obey U.S. Labor Laws
(TUCSON, AZ) – Teamsters and their allies in Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and Florida rallied at Grupo Mexico’s CMX Theaters today to demand that U.S. and Mexico step in to stop violations of labor law.
For more than ten weeks, nearly 2,000 mine workers in Arizona and Texas, represented by the Teamsters, USW, IBEW, IAM, UA, IUOE, and the Boilermakers, have been on strike to demand that Asarco, the Arizona-based mining subsidiary of the giant Mexican conglomerate Grupo Mexico, stop violating federal labor laws and breaking international labor standards.
“Grupo Mexico is a rogue company that believes it can ignore U.S. labor laws, violate international labor standards, 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. “We are rallying to demand that U.S. and Mexican lawmakers intervene to stop the current violations of labor law in anticipation of the upcoming ratification of the USMCA.
Grupo Mexico, ranked as one of the least ethical companies in the world, is owned by the Mexican Oligarch, Germán Larrea, the wealthiest person in Mexico, second only to telecom magnate Carlos Slim. Examples of Grupo's unscrupulous behavior include creating the worst ecological disaster in Mexico's history by releasing over ten million gallons of copper sulfate into a major watershed and refusing to recover the bodies of 63 mine workers killed in an explosion at a Grupo mine or adequately compensate the families for their loss.
Larrea owns Asarco and several other mining companies in Latin America and Spain, along with the largest railroad in Mexico, energy companies, port shipping terminals and one of the world’s largest movie theater chains, with locations across Mexico and the United States.
Grupo Mexico has a long history of abusing Mexican workers and their communities, but records show that Grupo Mexico is also targeting Americans. According to the Good Jobs First “violations tracker” Grupo Mexico’s ASARCO subsidiary has racked up 16 environmental violations since 2000 totaling $387,640,097 million in penalties, and 112 workplace health or safety violations totaling $1,418,227.
Mine workers at ASARCO have gone 10 years without a pay raise and ASARCO’s most recent contract offer would freeze worker’s pension plans, leave two thirds of hourly workers without a raise, and more than double workers out of pocket employee paid healthcare. On December 2, 2019, ASARCO illegally imposed its most recent offer on workers.
“U.S. and Mexican lawmakers can act now to address labor law violations currently being committed by Grupo Mexico,” said James P. Hoffa, Teamsters General President. “We can’t afford to wait. Right now Grupo Mexico is exporting its brand of extreme worker abuse and environmental devastation to the United States in ways that would violate the proposed NAFTA 2.0 agreement should it be ratified. It would be a show of good faith for Mexico to intervene now.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.