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ASARCO employees hold firm on picket line as strike enters second week

SAHUARITA — ASARCO workers continue to strike this weekend, prompting the company to halt operations at two of its plants including one in Hayden, AZ and another in Amarillo, TX.

At a press conference in Sahuarita Saturday morning, union leaders say their members some of whom have spent decades at ASARCO haven’t seen a raise in almost 10 years.

The new contract offer asks the majority of the workforce to go without that raise for another four years.

“For this company not to realize the experienced labor we’re giving them and to kick you in the face and say you’re not worth it, this is the end result right here,” one veteran ASARCO employee said.

Manny Armenta is the sub-district director for the United Steelworkers. He promises his members are in this for the long haul.

“When our backs are against the wall, we have to fight back because in this country or anywhere in the world, if you don’t fight you lose,” Armenta said.

Union leaders say parent company Grupo Mexico wants its workers to pay higher out of pocket costs for health care.

“We can’t afford higher insurance for families, it feels like we’re being punished for having a family and that’s ridiculous,” another employee said.

The United Steelworkers is using its strike fund to help out workers and their families with the essentials.

“We take care of their utility bills, mortgage payments, car payments, it’s all based on need,” Armenta said.

Union leaders say they are ready to sit down at the table with ASARCO. News 4 Tucson has reached out to the company several times, we have not heard back.

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