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ASARCO workers picket at company headquarters as strike enters 6th week

Workers say negotiations at a standstill
Posted at 4:28 PM, Nov 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-19 19:04:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Teamsters, steelworkers and many other unions took their fight to ASARCO company headquarters in Tucson Monday as the strike enters its sixth week.

ASARCO workers have been off the job for 37 days, and negotiations broke down again last week. Supporters held a demonstration in front of the Williams Center Monday, which houses the company's Arizona headquarters.

"I want to send a message to the company," union negotiation spokesperson Manny Armenta said. "They can run and they can hide, but we're going after them wherever they go."

Armenta says seven international unions are standing together, not working in the ASARCO mines across Arizona and Texas -- but six weeks without pay is hurting, and holidays are around the corner.

"We are coordinating with elected officials including Mayor-elect Regina [Romero] and other merchants to make sure we have turkeys for everyone," he said.

RELATED: Teamsters: No progress in ASARCO strike after Thursday negotiations

Romero says she and other city and county leaders support the strike.

"Thanksgiving is coming and Christmas is coming, but they should know they are not alone, that there are many elected officials that support their efforts," she said.

Teamsters, steelworkers and other unions say they are striking against ASARCO due to unsafe working conditions and because they haven't received a pay raise in more than nine years. They also say the company's latest offer would increase their health care costs.

"When you get to the six week mark, that mortgage note is already due again, and due along with a whole slew of other bills," Teamsters principal officer Karla Schumann said.

Despite the long strike, workers say negotiations are at a standstill.

"Right now I can honestly say there is no date set for the next round of negotiations," Armenta said.

KGUN 9 first reached out to ASARCO when the strike began on Oct. 13 and reached out again Monday, but haven't heard back.