Near the end of August, members of six international unions voted to ratify a new contract that will cover about 420 workers at the Pinto Valley Mine, west of Miami. An August 29 press release by the United Steelworkers union (USW) said the members’ vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the agreement. The press release said that about 170 members of USW Local 915 are employed at the mine, along with members of the Teamsters, Boilermakers, Operating Engineers, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipefitting Industry. These half-dozen unions, led by the USW, negotiate their labor agreements jointly with the company.
The Pinto Valley Mine, which is owned by Capstone Copper, is one of the largest employers in the Globe-Miami area.
The press release stated that the new four-year contract includes wage in creases averaging 18%, a lump-sum signing bonus, improved retirement benefits, reduced healthcare costs for members, an increase in paid sick me, the addition of vision coverage and “other improvements to contract language.”
“I’m pleased to see our collective bargaining agreement renewed for four more years, and with wages adjusted upward as our employees manage the effects of the inflationary pressures we have all been experiencing,” Pinto Valley Mine General Manager Mike Wicker sham told the Arizona Silver Belt. “I’m also proud to now include paid sick leave and more flexibility in access to vacation time, changes we undertook early in the COVID pandemic which make sense to continue. The bargaining teams worked through the negotiations process efficiently and productively – now it’s time to focus on safely making copper with this great Pinto Valley Mine team.”
In the August 29 press release, USW District 12 Director Gaylan Prescott said the agreement is an example of the strength workers can have when they stand together.
“The will of these mine workers, using their collective voices, resulted in increased wages, improved benefits and dignity in their workplace,” Prescott said. “These workers, their families and the communities in which they live will all benefit because of what this group was able to accomplish as a result of their unity and solidarity.”