Tucson copper miners rally for a union contract
Al Neal/PW

TUCSON, Ariz. — A hundred union miners and community supporters rallied outside ASARCO/Grupo Mexico (a Tucson-based copper producer that also builds transit and infrastructure) headquarters demanding a fair union contract.

Members of United Steel Workers (USW) District 12 have been working without a new contract since 2013. And in 2015 the Union terminated their contract extension and sent the company a 15-day demand-to-bargain notice.

As of Dec. 1, no agreement has yet been reached.

“It’s been close to four years that we have been fighting for a contract,” said Manny Armenta, union spokesperson and USW District 12 Sub-District Director, “and we are here today to show ASARCO that we are stronger than ever and that we won’t stop until we get a contract.”

Al Neal/PW
Al Neal/PW

Amid chants and drivers honking their support as they passed by, Armenta informed People’s World that members of “Los Mineros” (Mexicans’ nickname for their country’s National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Similar Workers) were among the picketers, having driven up from Sonora, Mexico to stand in solidarity with the American union miners.

“They drove up because they are fighting the same battle we are against ASARCO,” he said. “This shows the company that we are a global labor movement and can’t be ignored.”

Los Mineros have been fighting for union recognition and a contract since 2005, according to union officials.

Eva Carrera-Dong, 62, a community supporter with Jobs with Justice, told the PW that she was out on the picket line because, “we have to help all unions when they’re fighting against corporate greed.”

“If we don’t fight back together and let just one company get away with injustice,” she added, “then we have opened the door for further attacks.”

As the noontime action closed, miners said they were hopeful that negotiations would resume and that a new agreement would be reached.

When asked, company officials declined to comment on the status of negotiations and on Thursday’s action by the miners.


Al Neal
Al Neal

Al Neal is a human-interest columnist and photographer for People’s World writing on politics, labor, the general ruckus in professional sports, and everything in between. He spent a decade working in the trade union movement with various locals across the country and currently serves as Dir. of Education and Advocacy for the St. Louis Workers’ Education Society.