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AZ educators join Asarco strikers on picket line

By Jim Byrne

Educators show solidarity with Asarco strikers.

Tucson, AZ – It has become tradition in Arizona to wear red and take selfies on Wednesdays to support the #RedForEd movement to demand that the legislature fully fund schools. However, since there are currently 2000 workers on strike at the Asarco mines, educators took selfies with Steelworkers and Teamsters on their picket line on Wednesday, October 16.

Spirits were high as strikers and supporters chatted while the sun went down. As the mine is located in a rural area, not much traffic goes by so the strikers knew exactly who a replacement worker was and shouted “Scab!” at them as they passed.

Up against the world’s third largest copper producer in Grupo Mexico’s Asarco, the eight unions are hoping their shutdown of a smelting facility, refinery and mining operations will force the company to offer a decent contract. Asarco workers have gone nearly a decade without a raise and are facing a spike in the cost of benefits.

The unions are on an ‘Unfair Labor Practice’ strike because Asarco has refused to bargain with the unions.

Arizona educators share a common enemy in the dark money connections that Asarco established through its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Around three dozen Arizona state legislators attended the most recent ALEC summit in Houston in August. ALEC is a notorious hotbed of conservative economic and political legislation aimed at weakening unions, pushing charter schools, cutting taxes for billionaires and corporations and deregulating the energy sector.

“We appreciate so much the solidarity demonstrated here tonight by teachers and education workers. All working class deserve better pay and benefits and striking and solidarity is the way forward,” said Steelworker Eduardo Placencio.

#TucsonAZ #PeoplesStruggles #strike #Strikes #Asarco