Labor


  • Labor’s Place in Community History

    The Past is Never Over

    Mining, refining and the smelting of ore into metals are at the foundation of industrial development. Mining is one of the most rough-and-tumble areas of the economy – financially volatile, environmentally damaging, and demanding and dangerous for workers. The expansion and settlement of the West and the US industrial base were shaped by the operations of the great mining interests. The “lead trust” and the “copper barons” set some of the toughest terms for employment as mining was cultivated across the from the 19th century into the early 20th. Many communities grew out of the staking of claims, the discoveries of valuable ores and their magnetic pull on working people.

    In this project we’ve been learning quite a bit about the labor features of the Asarco story – the early working conditions, the risks, the emergence of unions at mining and smelting sites and the volatile and complex relations between labor, community and owners/managers. We don’t know all of these stories deeply and thoroughly. Each community/worksite is in a way its own universe, with its own history of labor strife and triumph, even while it’s connected, either closely or more distantly, to the broader labor movement. As with other aspects of this project, we are finding out how important it is for people to look carefully and critically at their community’s labor story and ensure that past struggles are not forgotten. In a small way, we’re trying to contribute to that recovery of memory, honoring those stories and the strengthening of labor’s position.

    In each of the community stories that we’re developing here, we’ve drawn on regional journalism, interviews with labor rank-and-file and leaders, and local history to learn how labor connects to environment, community, economy and social justice. In the Community Stories section, we offer reports and stories from present-day labor advocates, smelter workers and miners, injured workers, and retirees. In this section, in addition to these community-based stories, we offer more focused commentary on labor’s story, both within and across communities, as unions have shaped strategy dealing with ASARCO, the resource economy and national labor and economic policy.

    Labor’s Place in Community History: Ruston, Hayden and El Paso

    Asarco-Ruston, WA: Workers Pouring CopperAsarco-Ruston, WA: Workers Pouring Copper

    The communities we have been learning from and with each have a distinctive labor story. Ruston, Washington was created for the express purpose of metal smelting. The smelter was build out on the edge of a peninsula at the far reaches of the emerging city of Tacoma, in the late 1890s during Tacoma’s boom years. Inaccessible except by boat for several decades, the smelter community, a classic company town, drew Eastern European and Welsh immigrants to what was then an isolated production site. Ores were shipped in from the Philippines and the Western interior to what quickly became one of the major production landmarks on the Pacific coast. Workers lived in bunkhouses, with families eventually arriving to help shape a vital community.

    In 1912 ASARCO’s unorganized workers embarked on one of their first recorded strikes, over low wages and long hours. But the next year ASARCO once again cut wages and lengthened working hours. In 1914 there was another strike, as the Western Federation of Miners began organizing Ruston’s smelter workers. The Seattle Hoboes Union pledged that they wouldn’t scab, and the strike earned the support of other unions, with Tacoma’s Longshore Workers refusing to unload ore at the smelter dock. Following this short period of solidarity, the union languished, especially during the war years. But with the challenges of the Depression, the local rechartered as part of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers. Smeltermen’s Local 25 quickly grew in strength, gaining support from the vast majority of workers.

    Asarco-Ruston. WA-strikeAsarco-Ruston. WA-strike

    Local 25 rallied for other major strikes, particularly in 1946 and 1959. Strikes, with all that they demand of workers and their families, shape and challenge a community, often leaving indelible memories. Although Ruston was an isolated company town, it was also a dedicated union town; when the strike was on, the community sustained and honored the solidarity needed to get through hard times. Many of the community elders and former ASARCO workers we’ve talked to in Ruston hold onto those memories, honoring both their union solidarity and the hard industrial life that built their community.

    Mine-Mill went through various periods of strain, mirroring tensions between the AFL and CIO, and then within the CIO during the red-baiting years of the late 1940s. It was the target of much red-baiting as ASARCO and other mine owners, the National Labor Relations Board and the courts together worked to demonize the union. Mine-Mill was expelled from the CIO in 1950 for refusing to rid itself of leaders or rank and file members who were alleged to be Communists. By the 1960’s, the Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers union had been weakened financially and politically. During the 1950s and 1960s, the union also confronted challenges from the United Steelworkers union, which was trying to displace Mine-Mill as the union representative of the workforce. In 1967 the Smelter Workers leadership voted to merge with the Steelworkers, a decision that the Ruston local accepted. This marked the end of Mine-Mill’s pre-eminence, while the Steelworkers became a major force in the U.S. labor and economic landscape.

    Although the El Paso labor situation went through similar transformations and shifts of union base, what’s distinctive about the El Paso labor story is how ethnic divisions, tensions around immigrant workers and the political significance of the border have all contributed to labor politics. Humberto Silex was a Nicaraguan-born labor activist who became a key figure in the Asarco smelter labor struggle and a celebrated union organizer. Silex fought against the “Mexican wage,” a discriminatory two-tier pay system. His effectiveness as a union leader in the MMSW through the 1930s and 40s led him to be targeted by the U.S. Department of Justice and then systematically blacklisted by virtually all employers in the El Paso area. His anguished story, as well as the systematic discrimination shown toward Mexican and Mexican American workers and their families in Smeltertown (see Community Stories), highlight how ethnocentrism and xenophobia were threaded through the already uphill struggle of working people in the mining/smelting sector of the economy of the Southwest.

    aerial-view-ephs-resizedEl Paso-aerial view of ASARCO smelter

    In her doctoral dissertation Monica Perales argues that ASARCO’s rise was dependent on “the interplay of immigration, labor and transnational capitalism” and that “the arrival of the railroad and the expansion of mining corporations like ASARCO…created a larger industrial zone of which Mexican workers were an integral part.” The expansion of transnational mining industries “facilitated the formation of a permanent, working class community and promoted the creation of a larger industrial economy defined in part by …ethnic Mexican residents.” It is clear that Mexican migration and settlement in El Paso and other parts of the Southwest helped to build the US industrial economy, even while Mexican-American workers were slotted into a discriminatory wage structure.

    The copper mining region of southeast Arizona was also riven by anti-Mexican and anti-labor patterns of discrimination and abuse. In Ray, a valley that was once an underground copper mine, is now fully stripped out as an open pit mine. Three communities once existed in this valley, sharing a common location and employer, while separated from one another by language, ethnicity and national origin. The actual town of Ray was populated only by Anglos. The residents of nearby Sonora were primarily of Mexican ancestry, with some Lebanese-American residents, including the Basha family, founders of what is now a chain of large grocery stores. The third town, Barcelona, was reserved for those who traced their heritage directly back to Spain. Today, the former residents of Sonora still speak of the segregation that ruled their lives. There was little socializing between the communities; each town had its own schools, community pageants and churches. Even the cemetery was segregated; as people told us. “We could not be together even in death.”

    In the late 1950’s the underground mine became a vast open-pit mine. As the mine opened and expanded, the three towns were swept away. Some workers and their families moved to the new community of Kearny that had been created for them, while others moved to Hayden. The ores extracted at the Ray mine traveled 17 miles down the road to Hayden, site of two copper smelters owned by Kennecott and ASARCO.

    Hayden smelter with two stacksHayden smelter

    Hayden, founded in 1910, struggled with its own patterns of racial discrimination. The town was divided into two sections, with Mexican-American workers and their families living in San Pedro, the upper–and poorer–section of town, while white residents, many of whom were smelter managers and white-collar workers, lived in Hayden proper. After World War II some of the rigid boundaries that separated Hispanics from Anglos began to collapse. Mexican-Americans had participated in the U.S. military, and they were not about to accept subordinate status in the town their parents and grandparents had helped to build.

    There was discrimination. The Mexican workers and the Anglo workers did the same type of work, but they got paid differently. The Anglos got a dollar more for doing the same work and the same amount of work. And that’s the way the company policy was. In those times discrimination was very strong.

    And after the Second World War when the soldiers came back, they put their foot down and said, “Enough is enough.” They fought for their rights and things started getting better.

    Frank Torres Amado, retired schoolteacher, Hayden, Arizona

    Still, patterns of discrimination persisted in Hayden long after World War II. Some elder residents remember the Ku Klux Klan visiting the community in the 1950s. There is evidence that ASARCO purposefully created health policies for workers that exploited—and allowed the company to profit from–ethnic differences. In 1994 a Steelworkers union local documented and successfully contested ASARCO’s policy of inflating the lung function tests of Hispanic workers by 15%. Long after the legal protections created by the Civil Rights movement, the “Hispanic 15% Rule” targeted and damaged a vulnerable community, abusing medical science and the trust of ASARCO’s workers. (See Community Stories for more on the “Hispanic Factor”.)

    When you walk into an old mining/smelting community in the US, you are brushing up against a powerful, dramatic and enduring history. Whether it’s urban El Paso at an international border, or the once remote, now urbanized Ruston transforming into a post-industrial center of affluent condominiums, or the still relatively isolated Hayden AZ – each community has stories that need to be told, and bears the marks of a strained inheritance.

    Current Challenges

    Our focus is on the predicaments ASARCO’s unions have faced as they try to guide their members through challenging, sometimes traumatizing, shifts in the company’s mode of operating in the world – shifts that involve the company’s name, its gravitational center, its many guises and subsidiaries, its shifting job base and its changing treatment of employees and retirees. In this sense the ASARCO story is not unlike the stories that workers and communities face all over the world as they seek to confront elusive companies that are relocating and redefining themselves, developing new political and legal mechanisms to shirk their social contracts.

    In response, labor has had to adopt both offensive and defensive strategies. It has had to become litigious, initiating cases and defending itself in the courts. This is quite different from the body-contact politics of the early twentieth century, especially when we look at the struggles over labor conditions in the minefields and smelter towns. Labor’ unions must now enter a murky arena of politico-legal battles, ranging from conceptual disputes about whether a company has a “right to pollute” to contesting “tort reform” crusades designed to protect companies from claims made by injured workers. In this section we want to show how a transforming company like ASARCO shapes strategies to push community responsibilities, financial burdens and the need for environmental and public health protection back onto labor and labor’s communities—onto families, neighbors and the environment—and we want to show how labor is fighting back.

    One example of labor’s new challenges appeared in the Wall Street Journal in 2004. The article, “Companies Sue Union Retirees to Cut Promised Health Benefits” presents grim stories of retirees who are being hounded and sued by former employers who want to strip down their benefits. ASARCO is one of the companies featured in the article. In 2003 the company informed retirees that it was raising their health care premiums. Retirees in Arizona were summoned to court. The company suit cited a “duration clause,” claiming it gave ASARCO the right “to amend or terminate the Plans at any time for any reason. even after you retire.” Chuck Yarter, retired Arizona ASARCO miner, was given a letter stating, “As you know the past several years have been very difficult for the copper industry. The continuing low copper prices and escalating medical costs force us to make these changes.” (WSJ, 11/10/04) Essentially, ASARCO was arguing that the “duration clause” allowed it to change the rules for its retirees once a labor contract had expired.

    The Steelworkers USW), ASARCO’s key union, along with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and the International Chemical Workers, challenged the action taken by the company. The unions pointed to the lucrative pay sustained by top management in contrast to the financial threat posed to retirees; and they argued that “unforeseen circumstances do not justify a breach of contractual obligations to persons on fixed income who can ill afford to pay the costs the company has shifted upon them.” (WSJ, 11/10/04)

    A rally in Tucson launched the Solidarity Council for Justice, a coalition that included the Carpenters, Electricians, Machinists, Operating Engineers, Plumbers and Steamfitters, Boilermakers and Teamsters, all unions with members at Asarco. The coalition took the company on over this breach of contract and breach of trust.

    A worker from Hayden spoke at the rally:

    This company trashes retired workers, working workers, the people who sell them service and parts, the environment and the people who live anywhere near their plants. We’re not going to take this lying down and this isn’t the last time you’re going to see us!” (retrieved from USWA website, 6/24/05)

    The workers were joined by Arizona State Senator Peter Rios.

    This company has the legal, moral and ethical responsibility to honor its contracts. We are not part of the the Third World and we are not second-class citizens.

    Robert Manriquez, USWA Local 5252 president at Asarco’s Ray mining and smelting complex, added:

    Younger workers know that if we stand by and let the company run over retirees – some who are our parents and relatives – they’ll come right after us next. It’s that simple. It’s basic. We’re all in this together.

    Eventually, over a dramatic period that included ASARCO’s path-breaking bankruptcy, retiree benefits were reinstated.

    The threat of benefit-erosion posed by ASARCO was part of a complex array of issues and challenges that have faced the USW and partner unions. Through this period, the unions had to figure out how to deal with a company that was shape-shifting in front of them, and around them. In 1999 ASARCO was “bought” by its offspring, Grupo Mexico; in 2002 it shifted ownership of one of its prize assets – Southern Peru Copper — across the border to Mexico and in the same year it negotiated challenges from the Department of Justice regarding the realignment of its finances. Throughout this complex and less than transparent process, organized labor – specifically the USW – was realigning its political stance to better challenge ASARCO’s athletic company-complex.

    Big Picture Labor Movement

    By 2000, the USW had grown into a large amalgamated organization, pulling in other unions that sought strength in numbers. Especially significant was the inclusion of the Oil, Chemical & Atomic Workers, a path-setter in workplace and environmental health. In 2004-05 this broader union movement began to explore new strategies to strengthen labor communities; it has also played a major role in the formation of broad coalitions and solidarity movements. The USW’s struggles with ASARCO, before and during the four-plus years of its bankruptcy involved several significant efforts.

    Fighting Asarco’s “Right to Pollute”

    In Arizona, ASARCO sued residents in Hayden and Winkelman who were trying to hold the company accountable for unusually high levels of pollution which posed clear public health risks to the workers and the community. Asarco’s legal assault on residents was based on its claim that its 1912 deed gave the company the right to discharge unlimited amounts of dust, smoke and other contaminants onto the town without incurring any responsibility for damages. The company’s story came down to this: the copper companies got there first; people who settled in the area to work at the mine and smelter did so at their own risk.

    Manny Armenta, who was born in Hayden and is now the Sub-District Director for the USW, Region 12, condemned ASARCO’s abuse of the town:

    I knew that Asarco was desperate to escape responsibility for its legacy of pollution, but this marks a new low. Citing a nearly century old agreement between two companies to provide legal cover for jeopardizing people’s health is an abuse of our justice system. Asarco’s legal argument of ‘we were here first’ is a slap in the face to the hardworking residents of our communities.

    Although some elements of the political right denounce “frivolous lawsuits,” it is clear the law is a tool citizens must be able to use to defend themselves and their communities from corporate abuse. ASARCO has been part of an effort to legislate “tort reform” to stifle and block these democratic routes of redress. ASARCO’s legal maneuvers against retirees and citizens opposing public health hazards pose a fierce threat to workers’ rights, retirees’ rights and the public’s right to a healthy environment. That the union stepped up to defend retirees’ benefits and the rights of townspeople to investigate their environment is a credit to their capacity to shape a broad social justice approach to the needs of the labor movement today.

    Fighting the Government’s Dismissive Approach to Community Health in Texas

    On occasion the Steelworkers Union has lent its strength to supporting quality environmental health research and community protections. In October 2004 the union discovered that internal EPA documents regarding children’s lead exposure (which the agency attributes to ASARCO’s emissions) were not being used to develop protective measures in the community. By ignoring their own staff scientists and the standards recommended by independent scientists, the EPA was failing the El Paso community. Agency research on 2000 El Paso soil samples and medical testing of area children suggested that the widely agreed-upon 500 parts-per-million lead level should guide cleanup efforts in the area. (While broadly accepted, the 500ppm standard is not universal; in Washington State, the Department of Ecology made 250ppm the action level—the level at which remediation is required. This level is consistent across the state—except in areas of federal jurisdiction, like the Superfund site in Ruston, where 500ppm was negotiated between ASARCO and the EPA).

    Despite staff recommendations and wide agreement about safe standards, the EPA, along with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, proposed a more lax 640ppm cleanup level. Diane Heminway, USW Environmental Projects Coordinator, challenged the agencies:

    The truth is out. EPA is ignoring its own internal analysis and standards and publicly advocating a less stringent cleanup that will not protect El Paso children from lead poisoning.

    Arguing that the EPA was resorting to a highly questionable model, Heminway added,

    The key question is, why is EPA using a model that relies on assumptions and guesses when they have real human and environmental data on the community?

    Manny Armenta, Sub-District Director, USW Region 12, pointed to the discriminatory features of the EPA/TCEQ approach:

    EPA is publicizing October as Children’s Health Month and claims that it is …protecting children from lead poisoning and doing outreach to Hispanic communities. Lead-contaminated areas of El Paso are predominantly Hispanic. So why is the EPA now backtracking on a thorough cleanup?

    Armenta added:

    EPA recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the National Urban League, in which the EPA expressed its concern about protecting children’s health and providing clean land for all citizens, including socioeconomically disadvantaged ones. Well, EPA backtracking on a thorough cleanup suggests that its commitment to upholding this agreement is not worth the paper it’s written on. It is difficult to believe EPA would ever propose this in a predominantly rich, white community.”

    (USWA, October 25, 2004)

    In 2005—the year ASARCO declared bankruptcy—the USW continued to challenge the EPA and Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, calling into question the TCEQ’s review of ASARCO’s air permit. ASARCO closed its El Paso smelter in 1999, and applied for a renewed air permit in 2002—an action that generated intense community discussion and led to the creation of a coalition opposed to the permit that included environmental activists, former ASARCO employees, public officials, and residents of El Paso, Juarez, Mexico and Anapra, New Mexico. Opposition to the permit centered on the dangers of ASARCO’s emissions and its known record of exceeding national health standards. Noting inconsistencies and a weakening of agency protections of the public, the USW aggressively challenged the agencies to take the public’s vulnerability more seriously. In a USW press release, District 12 Director Terry Bonds took a community health protective stance.

    Corporations that have been trusted with air pollution permits should be held strictly accountable to the communities where they operate, so we must demand answers to these and other questions before we allow ASARCO the privilege of a renewed permit.

    This environmental and community protective position, with its challenge to uphold science and stringent cleanup standards, is somewhat unusual for a US union. It shows how labor can, with sustained research and strategy, help build broader community-environment-workplace linkages. As ASARCO’s complex, opaque bankruptcy progressed, however, the USW, challenged by the economic vulnerability of its members and the grueling legal process of dealing with a morphing, mobile company, moved away from its earlier emphasis on public health. Still, the union’s work in and around Hayden and El Paso reveals the possibility that unions can craft policies, and forge alliances that link economic and environmental justice politics.

    Joining Forces with Environmentalists – Going Blue-Green

    Around 2004 the USW and other unions began meeting with environmental groups to create the Blue-Green Alliance for “good jobs, clean environment and a green economy.” This merging of labor and environmental issues, formally launched in 2006, is not new. At times the USW has taken a leading role in strategizing with environmental and public health advocates to build a broader movement to hold government and businesses accountable for public health, worker rights, and social justice in the context of environmental health. The Steelworkers were there in 1970 to help launch Earth Day; 29 years later they were instrumental in building the coalition that challenged the WTO in Seattle in 1999. The challenges of building labor-environment coalitions have been persistent over several decades; the movement lurches forward in fits-and-starts, offering an occasional victory, or the intermittent mishap and misunderstanding. Union trainings on the environment, the Toxic Use Reduction Institute work with labor and environmentalists, the analyses developed through New Solutions: A Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health—these are a few signs of the potential for shared analysis and action. The USW has been involved in most of these efforts. It is prominent in the Blue-Green Alliance, which is primarily focused on renewable energy, green jobs and eco-economic sustainability.

    The USW has been a critical player in shaping national policy, training, and remediation of environmental hazards through its prominent participation in the national Superfund program. Since the time of Love Canal in the late 1970s, the USW has played a significant role in public hearings, pushing for labor funding, training and participation.

    Labor has also pushed for a fair deal for workers, with former Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Union activist Tony Mazzochi, promoting a “Superfund for Workers,” or a “just sustainability” in which workers would not suffer job loss, but would be retrained for cleanup and a cleaner economy. After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the USW worked with community organizations and workers to offer training and support in cleanup, rebuilding of homes and retooling of infrastructure.

    In a fragile economy where union membership is slipping, especially in the private/industrial sector, the USW is making a powerful effort to create a broader labor-environment-health-sustainability connection. This is a serious challenge for this union or any union in our ruptured economy. On the ground, in each community, the labor-environment-health history and conditions vary. It remains a very serious, uneven and mostly unexamined challenge for the USW and other unions to deal with the distinctive needs of local workers. In Hayden, ASARCO’s last operating smelter, workers and community members face the persistent corporate suffocation of their concerns about health and safety hazards. In El Paso, site of ASARCO’s hulking and hazardous smelter skeleton, it’s the challenge of staying connected to rank-and-file workers who are now out of work, injured, ill or on to other jobs. There’s much work to be done for a union which, having endured a complex corporate reorganization, must now address the variety of occupational and environmental risks that labor and its neighbors face. The work continues.

    Cross-Border Labor Solidarity and Strategy

    From September through December 2005, the USW, IBEW and other unions – all part of the Solidarity Council for Justice – were on strike at ASARCO/Grupo Mexico, provoking “the rumble in copper” in the Southwest. A month into the strike, ASARCO declared bankruptcy. 1500 workers in Hayden, Kearny, Marana and Sahuarita, Arizona, as well as Amarillo Texas, challenged the company over a range of issues: reneging on retirement benefits; refusing to pay earned vacations; changing work policies; workplace hazards; and overall violation of worker rights. The National Labor Relations Board issued complaints against ASARCO for threatening and intimidating workers and refusing to negotiate with union bargaining committees. The USW also objected to the company’s attempts to reject an effective “successor” clause that would oblige a potential purchaser to recognize the union and honor labor agreements.

    Terry Bonds, USW Regional Director denounced the company’s plan:

    The Company’s so-called successor proposal is absolutely worthless. Our members must have a contract that protects them, their families and their jobs. ASARCO’s owners and creditors only have some of their money at stake. Our members have invested their lives, their blood, sweat and tears, in this company. Our members’ communities, their families and their futures are at risk. We will not gamble with our members’ lives by depending on ASARCO to encourage potential buyers to recognize and deal fairly with them.

    (USW website, 9-21-05)

    The strike got the attention of many groups – from the Alliance of Retired Americans to the NAACP. Workers walking the picket line not only had to sustain themselves under the usual demands of a strike, they also had to sort out who they were striking against and what ASARCO’s corporate morphing would mean on the grand stage of international labor. Both ASARCO and Grupo Mexico were formidable forces in international copper and the two companies together had amassed a horrific labor/environmental record.

    Most importantly, the strike drew the support of the USW’s sister union in Mexico. Los Mineros (the National Union of Mine and Metal Workers) crossed the border for solidarity pickets, and the two unions started to shape a cross-border solidarity movement. The USW and the Mineros understood how porous and malleable the border was for the company, allowing ASARCO/Grupo to relocate company records, rearrange patterns of ownership, and evade corporate accountability, all the while trying to play on the fears of both U.S. and Mexican workers. Instead of letting the company pit them against each other, the USW/Mineros solidarity movement was forged.

    Over these past five years, the USW/Mineros link has strengthened. The labor situation is dire in Mexico. Miners in Cananea have been on strike since 2007 against Grupo Mexico’s systematic assault on the contractual protections that safeguarded worker and community health, safety and the environment (see the section on Cananea on this website). Grupo Mexico is notorious for the 2006 Pasta de Conchos mining disaster in which 65 miners were killed. It is also widely distrusted and feared because of its systematic attempts to break union locals in Mexico and replace them with “white” (company) unions. Although the Mexican courts have supported the Mineros’ efforts to maintain the legal legitimacy of the Cananea strike and their union, Mexico’s Ministry of Labor has twice used federal police to break the strike and enforce Grupo Mexico’s agenda. In June 2010, federal police blocked union access to the mine, allowing the company to hire replacement workers; they attacked workers who sought refuge in the union hall, and called for the arrest of union leaders (several of whom have gone underground). At the same time federal police evicted grieving families who have maintained a multi-year vigil at the Pasta de Conchos mine, hoping to recover the bodies of their loved ones. Only two of the 65 bodies have been recovered, and the company has consistently refused to search for others.

    In an increasingly complex global context, in which corporations can readily shift resources across borders, the Steelworkers continue to explore possibilities for building cross-national unions. As part of the growing solidarity between the USW and the Mineros, the USW in the US and Canada have provided support and refuge to the exiled leader of the Mineros, Napoleón Gomez Urrútia. According to USW President, Leo Gerard:

    Mexico’s President, Felipe Calderon, has launched a reign of terror against working people. Our American union members tax dollars should not be used to support a union busting government in Mexico.

    (USW@Work, summer 2010, pg. 20)

    The Steelworkers have taken the lead in giving material and political support to the Mexican miners, whose struggle is seen as a tipping point in state/corporate efforts to quell labor across the Americas.

    (See section on Cananea for more on the situation for workers, community and environmental health and for the movement for cross-border solidarity.)

    (See the section on the Bankruptcy – the Dollars and Sense May 2010 article – for more background on the impact of the bankruptcy and the challenges this poses to the labor movement.)

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