PITTSBURGH, June 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has issued a far-reaching complaint against ASARCO LLC, a subsidiary of mining conglomerate Grupo Mexico, sanctioning the company for its numerous unlawful actions at and away from the bargaining table.
Almost 2,000 members of eight international unions have been on strike at five copper mining and processing facilities in Arizona and Texas since Oct. 13, 2019.
In the complaint, the NLRB outlines ASARCO management's overall failure to bargain in good faith with the unions representing its employees, both before and during the ongoing dispute.
Additional specific 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 NLRB's complaint asserts that the strikers are unfair labor practice strikers, who are protected against permanent replacement under existing U.S. labor law.
USW International President Tom Conway praised the solidarity of the union members at ASARCO and gave credit to the union's former District 12 Director Bob LaVenture, who passed away shortly after the unfair labor practice strike started.
"The courageous unity and solidarity of the union membership to continue their righteous struggle for a fair contract are a tremendous credit to Bob's life's work and leadership," Conway said. "Our fight will continue until we have negotiated the fair and just contract these men and women have earned."
USW District 12 Director Gaylan Prescott said that the unions will continue efforts to engage ASARCO management in good faith negotiations.
"The USW stands ready at all levels to work with the NLRB to bring ASARCO to justice for breaking the law in its drive to avoid bargaining in good faith," Prescott said, "and we hope that the company will take this opportunity finally to bargain in good faith and start showing its workers the respect they deserve."
USW District 13 Director Ruben Garza said that ASARCO must answer the complaint in writing and that the NLRB will schedule a hearing for an administrative law judge to review evidence against ASARCO and to hear testimony in the case.
"Our members, families and communities are standing up to one of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations on the planet," Garza said. "Today, we are one step closer to justice."
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing and health care industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.