The Stand

Local solidarity for copper workers on 5-month strike in Arizona

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By JOHN MARTINEZ and BARBARA KLINE
Special to The Stand


(March 18, 2020) — More than 1,700 workers at the ASARCO copper facilities in Arizona and Texas have been on an unfair labor practice strike since Oct. 13, 2019, over wages, benefits and working conditions. The workers are represented by seven different unions, but they work under a singular Collective Bargaining Agreement. The unions involved include the United Steelworkers, the Teamsters, IAM, IBEW, Boilermakers, Pipefitters and Carpenters unions.

From the start, the strikers have maintained pickets around the clock at the ASARCO mines in Sahuarita, Hayden, and Ray in Arizona, and at the refinery in Amarillo, Texas. They have received support from their communities and surrounding workplaces. The SMART railway workers’ union is honoring the picket lines and its members are refusing to drive any trains into the plants.

ASARCO is owned by Grupo Mexico, one of the world’s largest mining conglomerates. Grupo Mexico insists on maintaining the decade-long wage freeze as well as freezing pensions, drastically increasing health care costs, and restricting union rights over safety and conditions.

Copper prices are expected to rise with increased demand for technological developments in auto and computing. However, the copper bosses want even more profit out of their workforce. The strikers are staying strong in spite of their isolated work locations and small communities.

In Seattle, AFT Seattle Local 1789 responded to the call for solidarity. On Tuesday, March 3, the AFT executive board voted to send $400 support to the strikers’ fund. AFT Local 1789 President Annette Stofer sent a warm message to the strikers and their unions.

TAKE A STAND — There’s still a need for more support. Other unions, locals, and individuals can contribute to this effort and support the strikers. Send financial contributions and solidarity messages to USW Local 915 Strike Assistance, P.O. Box 550, Kearny, AZ, 85137, or to USW Local 5613 Strike Support, 4230 Texas Hwy. 136, Amarillo, TX, 79108. You can also call USW local 5613 at 806-381-0831.

Your support is urgently needed. Learn more at USW’s Unity in Copper page.


John Martinez and Barbara Kline are members of AFT Seattle Local 1789, and both teach at Seattle Central College.

 

Short URL: https://www.thestand.org/?p=85193

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