Asarco miners rally for better pay, safer work conditions

Published: Dec. 2, 2015 at 12:40 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:23 PM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Workers from one of the top 20 employers in southern Arizona are fighting for better pay and safer work conditions.

Miners who work at the Asarco mines in southern Arizona said they have been working without a contract since June, and negotiating with corporate officials for the last two and a half years.

Dozens of mine workers and members of the United Steel Workers union held up signs and rallied near Broadway and Rosemont Boulevards on Tuesday afternoon.

Union workers said they want a wage increase.

"These employees have not had a wage increase since September '09," said Manny Armenta, a sub-district director and spokesman from the United Steel Workers Union.

They were also fighting for health benefits.

Employees who do not plan to retire within three years will no longer be covered by insurance after retirement.

It's was a sore spot for many long-time miners.

"It's unfair, I've worked here for 15 years faithfully, a fair contract is all we want. We all come to work everyday, we do our jobs, we do your bidding now do ours," said Greg Schuitt a long-time Asarco employee.

Union workers said entry level miners make an average of about $17 an hour.

"It's okay money, but you got to understand you're in a dangerous nasty environment and the plant has to run," said Jeff Turner, another long-time Asarco employee.

Union employees said Asarco officials had indicated they were willing to work with them to improve safety in the mines.

Tucson News Now reached out to company officials for a comment on these negotiations.

They had not returned our call as of Tuesday night.

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