USW, Mexican Miners' Union Accuse Asarco, Parent Firm of Rights Violations

Feb 18, 2016, 16:11 ET from United Steelworkers (USW)

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 18, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) and the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (Los Mineros) today filed a complaint accusing Mexican mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico and its U.S. subsidiary, Asarco, of violating workers' rights on both sides of the border.

The complaint, filed with the U.S. National Contact Point (NCP) for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises, asks the NCP to attempt to foster a dialogue between the parties.

While the specific contents of the complaint are confidential, the USW has accused Tucson, Ariz.-based Asarco of multiple unfair labor practices in the United States, including threatening workers, unlawfully implementing changes in workplace conditions, and failing to negotiate with the unions at the company's five U.S. facilities. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has scheduled a hearing on the complaints for March 15.

More than 2,000 workers represented by eight international unions have continued to work at Asarco's copper mines and processing facilities under the terms and conditions of a labor agreement that originally expired in June 2013 but was extended until the parties terminated it in June 2015.

"Asarco has used intimidation, manipulation and discrimination to interfere with workers attempting to exercise their rights," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "Companies like Grupo Mexico, and other multinational conglomerates that attempt to silence workers, are precisely the reason why international solidarity among labor unions is so important."

The filing by the two unions comes as workers are preparing to mark the 10th anniversary of an explosion at the Grupo Mexico mine at Pasta de Conchos in the state of Coahuila that killed 65 workers. The bodies of 63 miners remain trapped underground. Representatives of the USW will join Los Mineros members for a march tomorrow in Mexico City to demand recovery of the bodies, compensation for the families of the victims, and prosecution of the responsible company and government officials. The two unions have maintained a strategic alliance since 2005.

In the 10 years since that disaster, Grupo Mexico has been accused of killing workers, breaking strikes, imposing company unions, and creating environmental disasters in Mexico and Peru.

"We are extremely proud of our long-standing partnership with Los Mineros," said USW District 12 Director Robert LaVenture. "We hope that by working together, we can achieve justice for workers, not only at Grupo Mexico, but all over the world."

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in industries including metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, and the service and public sectors. For more information: www.usw.org.

CONTACT: Ben Davis: 412-562-2501,
bdavis@usw.org

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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)



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