PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee this week issued a decision to enforce an arbitrator’s award that Asarco pay a negotiated quarterly bonus based on the price of copper to the hundreds of employees hired after June 30, 2011, that the company has wrongly denied the benefit.
The unions which represent more than 2,000 workers at five Asarco locations in Arizona and Texas won the arbitration against the Grupo Mexico subsidiary in Dec. 2014, and the award is now estimated to be worth more than $10 million.
Last month, Region 28 of the National Labor Relations Board issued a fourth consolidated complaint against Asarco for unfair labor practices that include unlawfully implementing portions of its “last, best and final” contract proposal, failing and refusing to bargain, unilaterally changing working conditions and other violations of federal labor laws.
Hourly production and maintenance employees 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.
Since then, as the NLRB spells out in the series of complaints, Asarco management unilaterally changed working conditions at the facilities on multiple occasions without first negotiating over the changes with union representatives as required by law. In some cases, the NLRB notes, Asarco management did not even notify the unions before changing the terms and conditions of employment.
The NLRB has scheduled a hearing on March 15, 2016, when an administrative law judge will review evidence against Asarco and listen to testimony in the case.
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.