The strike at Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine reached one year on March 13, six days after miners voted against arbitration to end the strike.
According to United Steelworkers Local 5114’s Facebook page, 123 of the 174 votes tallied on March 7, 2018 were against arbitration. The miners went on strike on March 13, 2017.
“Time to roll up the shirt sleeves and get back to the table to get this resolved with a fair contract,” Local 5114 posted on its Facebook page.
The Spokesman Review reported that Hecla Mining Co. has already agreed to the arbitration, which is binding.
Three arbitrators would have ruled on a three-year contract in early May, according to information released by Hecla.
The arbitrators would have had two choices: They would have either selected the contract the company submitted in December as its revised final, best offer. Or, the arbitrators would have chosen the contract that expired in April 2016, with modifications agreed upon by the union and the company.
Hecla’s initial proposal included changes to health care benefits, vacation scheduling and bonus pay tied to silver prices, the Steelworkers said at the time. Proposed changes to how work crews were assigned was also a point of contention.