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No New Talks as Asarco Strike Enters 12thWeek

December 31, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

TUCSON, Ariz.—The strike by more than 1,700 workers at Asarco copper mines and refineries in Arizona and Texas entered its 12thweek Dec. 29 with no new contract talks scheduled. Asarco, the Tucson-based subsidiary of the Mexican conglomerate Grupo México, has instead been using strikebreakers—which could violate the proposed United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement approved by the House Dec. 19. The deal includes on-paper protections of the right to strike, but Asarco owner Germán Larrea, Mexico’s second-richest man, has a long history of violating labor and environmental laws both there and in the U.S., including refusing to pay Asarco workers bonuses agreed to in 2011 for eight years. Most of the striking workers have not gotten a raise since 2009, and the company’s last contract offer would have continued the wage freeze, doubled workers’ health-insurance premiums and eliminated their pensions. Meanwhile, on Dec. 23, the Teamsters, whose Local 104 is one of the eight unions on strike, gave Christmas presents to members and their families on a picket line south of Tucson. “I think it’s crayons and markers,” 9-year-old Faith Trujillo told KOLD-TV after shaking the box. Read more

December 31, 2019

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