After nine months on strike, officials with the United Steelworkers announced that they made an unconditional offer to return to work to ASARCO. This news came after the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a complaint against ASARCO alleging numerous violations of federal labor laws. In a letter to union members, the USW explained that NLRB allegations include failure to bargain in good faith, illegally declaring an impasse in negotiations and unilaterally implementing changes to the working conditions.
The strike lines at Ray and Hayden were removed on Monday morning at 6 a.m. as workers left the picket lines to await word if they would allowed to return to their pre-strike positions.
The Union’s decision to end the current Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) strike and by making the unconditional offer to return to work will mean that ASARCO should return the union members to their pre-strike jobs and avoid any further financial penalties for the company. ASARCO has made claims that is has permanently filled the empty positions at all of their locations.
If ASARCO does not return the striking workers to their pre-strike jobs, the workers are eligible for back pay. Workers who are placed on a recall list would be considered laid off, and they would be eligible for unemployment.
In a letter to Union members, officials stated that this allows the Union to be in a stronger negotiating position for a fair contract.
There was no indication from ASARCO on their plans to return the Union members to their pre-strike positions.
Copper Area News received a copy of a letter sent to the Union from Human Resources at ASARCO. The letter indicates that the company will not be terminating the workers that were hired to replace the striking union members. The letter states “the former strikers will be entitled to reinstatement to their former positions or to substantially equivalent positions to the extent they are available.”
The letter also indicates that ASARCO believes that the courts will rule in their favor, that the company has negotiated in good faith to an impasse and that this strike was solely based on economic conditions.