Ninth Circuit Appeals Court Rejects ASARCO Petitions for Rehearing of Copper Price Bonus Case
TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — The United Steelworkers (USW) today said that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has rejected ASARCO, LLC’s petition seeking another rehearing of its decision to affirm Senior U.S. District Judge Stephen M. McNamee’s March 3, 2016, decision to enforce an arbitrator’s order for the company to pay millions of dollars to hundreds of employees hired after June 30, 2011. The district court also required ASARCO to pay post-judgment interest, which continues to accrue.
The eight international unions which represent more than 2,000 hourly workers at five ASARCO locations in Arizona and Texas have been fighting to collect the award since December 2014, when the arbitrator originally determined that the company wrongly withheld quarterly bonuses based on the price of copper from newer employees.
On June 19, 2018, the Ninth Circuit issued its first decision affirming Judge McNamee’s order to enforce the arbitrator’s award, which ASARCO challenged. Last month, the Ninth Circuit withdrew its prior opinion but maintained that the arbitrator’s decision was correct and proper and that the federal courts must defer to it, refuting the company’s arguments to the contrary.
USW District 12 Director Bob LaVenture said that the company’s attempt to divide the union membership by withholding bonus payments from newer hires backfired and became an issue that united workers in solidarity within and between ASARCO locations.
“Our struggle for fairness and justice for all ASARCO employees did not begin and will not end in court,” LaVenture said. “It begins and ends with workers joining together to force management to respect our unions and obey our contract.”
Since the Ninth Circuit has rejected the company’s latest request to rehear the case, ASARCO’s last hope to evade justice and avoid paying the bonus as ordered by the arbitrator and affirmed by federal courts now rests with a possible petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Although management has delayed and postponed paying the millions of dollars it owes for years, we are committed to fighting for justice for these workers and their families,” LaVenture said. “ASARCO’s debts will only continue to grow until they are settled once and for all, and time is running out.”
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
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Manny Armenta – (520) 465-3617; firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Montana – (412) 562-2592; email@example.com
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)