High Country News
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High Country News

COVID-19 ended Arizona steelworker’s 6-month picket line

After more than a decade without a raise, workers are asking for a better contract.

Community organizers provide tacos and a movie for a community night at the Silver Bell Mine picket line. | Justin Hamel

In October 2019, Arizona steelworkers decided they had had enough. Their employer, the mining corporation Asarco and its parent company, Grupo Mexico, had made a final offer: a contract that would have raised workers’ health-care premiums by two-thirds, reduced their pensions and denied what would have been their first salary increase in more than decade. Arizona’s last unionized copper workers rejected the offer.

“This is a fight for our future and for our families,” said Alex Terrazas, president of United Steelworkers Local 937, in a video produced by the union. “Right now, we’re dealing with this corporate tyrant that is all about greed and doesn’t care about the workers. We’re tired of being disrespected.”

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