17 June, 2020The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a complaint against Asarco for unfair labour practices that sparked an eight month strike.
The complaint issued by the Phoenix, Arizona office of the NLRB – the US industrial relations arbitrator – found in favour of the workers. The NLRB outlines Asarco management’s failure to bargain in good faith with the unions representing its employees, both before and during the ongoing dispute.
Allegations include bargaining with no intention of reaching an agreement, failing to provide information needed for bargaining, not having decision makers at the table with adequate authority to negotiate, discriminating against union representatives, and illegally declaring an impasse and unilaterally implementing changes to working conditions.
The company must respond in writing by 29 June.
The ruling is an encouraging development for the almost 2,000 union workers who have endured eight months on the picket line at five copper mining and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas. The majority of the workers are represented by IndustriALL Global Union affiliate the United Steelworkers (USW). Other workers are represented by affiliates the Teamsters, Boilermakers (IBB), Machinists (IAM) and the UAW, as well as by the IBEW and IUOE.
The workers went on strike on October 13, 2019, after rejecting a new four year contract that will see no wage increases after a ten year wage freeze. Workers have held firm on the picket line despite months of hardship, exacerbated by the coronavirus crisis.
USW president Tom Conway praised the fortitude of the strikers, while calling for support and solidarity to ensure that they endure one day longer than the company.
IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan said:
“These workers have bravely faced up to the intransigence of this multinational company for eight long and difficult months. They have now been vindicated by this NLRB ruling, which shows that the company provoked the dispute and never intended to offer a fair deal. The ruling is a clear sign that this tactic has failed. It must end now, and the company must negotiate in good faith.
“The workers have shown their strength and determination, and they will prevail. We are proud to stand with them.”