Union workers begin strike at Asarco copper facilities in Arizona
About 1,700 union workers at four Asarco mines and smelters began a strike at the companies copper mining facilities in Southern Arizona and Texas.
Seven of the eight unions at the properties voted to down tools on Oct. 13 over pay, pensions and benefits according to AZ Central.com.
Dawn Schumann, a spokeswoman for Teamsters Local 104 said the strike could involve up to 2,000 workers and eight unions, most of whom are employed in Arizona, primarily at locations in Sahuarita, Marana and Kearny.
Asarco issued a statement indicating it was disappointed with the decision to strike. The company said it continues to negotiate in good faith and is "committed to reaching a new agreement."
Asarco said it has offered wage increases for skilled workers and provides training for employees to expand their skills and advance their knowledge and careers in the industry. The company also said it supports communities near its operations.
Striking laborers have been complaining of the lack of pay raises for roughly a decade along with pension freezes and higher employee-borne health-insurance costs.
Some 77 percent of affected union workers voted in favor of a strike last week, according to Teamsters officials. The last contract expired in November. The company was given a two-day strike-authorization notice.
Other participating unions include the United Steelworkers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, the United Automobile Workers, the International Union of Operating Engineers and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers.