Some Arizona Copper Mine Workers Walk Off Job After Strike Vote

Published: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 9:34am
Updated: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 2:56pm

Some Arizona mine workers walked off the job Monday. This comes after they voted overwhelmingly to strike against unfair labor practices.

About 2,000 hourly workers at five Asarco locations in Arizona and Texas voted for the strike on Friday, according to the United Steelworkers Union.

Employees of the Tucson-based copper producer have been working without a new contract since last November. They chose not to accept a recent offer from the company.

A union spokesman said the offer didn’t include a wage increase for nearly two-thirds of workers, froze the existing pension plan and more than doubled worker’s out-of-pocket costs for health care.

Karla Schumann with Teamsters Local 104 said the workers felt they didn’t have a choice and are striking for better pay and benefits.

“We’ve been talking about this, preparing for this and trying to get our folks ready for months. You know, the handwriting has been on the wall. The negotiations were difficult. We’ve got unfair labor practices charges filed and we kind of knew eventually we might end up here,” Schumann said.

According to Schumann, it’s been nearly a decade since many of the nearly 2,000 workers on strike have received a pay raise.

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