Issue 19: July 6, 2020

Unions Offer to Return to Work at ASARCO, End Nine-Month Strike 

The unions representing almost 2,000 workers on strike against ASARCO’s unfair labor practices at five copper mining and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas have ended the labor dispute and offered to return to work. 

In light of the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision to prosecute ASARCO for alleged violations of federal labor laws, the best strategy for the most bargaining leverage is to end the current strike and make an unconditional offer to return to work. 

Our unions and the NLRB are committed to bringing ASARCO to justice for breaking the law in its drive to avoid negotiating in good faith with the unions that represent its employees, and now is the time for management to bargain for the fair contract workers have earned and deserve. 

On June 15, the NLRB issued a sweeping complaint against the Grupo Mexico subsidiary, alleging numerous violations of federal labor laws, including an overall failure to bargain in good faith with the unions, illegally declaring an impasse in negotiations and unilaterally implementing changes to the working conditions. The NLRB also alleged that workers have been engaged in an unfair labor practice strike. 

Under existing NLRB case authority, an employer must return unfair labor practice strikers to their jobs if they end their strike and make an unconditional offer to return to work. If an employer unlawfully refuses to reinstate the returning strikers, they may be entitled to backpay for each day that the company refuses to reinstate the workers. 

Workers who are not immediately recalled to their jobs would effectively be laid off and should be eligible for unemployment benefits in both Arizona and Texas. The union will provide legal support for its members’ unemployment claims if ASARCO contests eligibility. 

The unions have informed ASARCO management of this decision and that the strike and all picketing activities will end today. The unions have NOT accepted the company's illegally implemented "last, best and final" contract offer and will continue to hold ASARCO accountable for how it treats workers and the environment. 

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