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United Steelworkers Protest at National Mining Hall of Fame 31st Induction Banquet – Denver, September 29, 2018

September 30, 2018

It was the 31st Induction Banquet of the National Mining Hall of Fame held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Denver, a formal event of tuxedos, and women dressed to the nines. A friend pointed out that by some oversight that there are no miners who are in the National Mining Hall of Fame, only corporate types.

A small group of protesters gathered outside.The protest was organized by the United Steelworkers of America’s Local 5114 from Mullan, Idaho.  A delegation from the union were protesting the unfair labor practices of  of the Hecla Lucky Friday mine management. They were there to underline the refusal of Hecla Lucky Friday mine CEO, Phillip S. Baker, Jr ,attending the event. Several union members went inside to confront Baker

Production at the mine stopped on March 13, 2017. Since that day more than 560 days ago, the miners have been on strike. Since then, Hecla has used replacement workers for limited production. From April 2016 until the strike began, union workers stayed o the job without a contract for eleven months while negotiations proceeded, removing 3.6 million ounces of silver from Lucky Friday in 2016. CEO Phillips Baker described 2016’s production as “the most in sixteen years.”

As a result of the companies unfair labor practices, the state of Montana officially deemed Hecla and CEO Baker to be in violation of its “bad actor” law in a an effort to recoup over $30 million in environmental cleanup costs associated with another mine, the Pegasus Gold Corporation, where Baker was an executive until the company went bankrupt in 1998 leaving taxpayers with a massive bill.

CEO Baker made nearly $11.5 million between 2016 and 2017 – more than fifty

2018 - 09 - 30 - National Mining Hall of Fame Protest - 2

A delegation from Colorado WINS, state employees union representing 33,000 state employees is on hand to support USW 5114

times what the company pays its average hourly employee, but Hecla insists that major concessions from union workers are necessary to ensure the future of the mine. Protesters handed out information leaflets outside the hotel

One Comment leave one →
  1. William Conklin permalink
    September 30, 2018 9:56 am

    Thanks for the article Rob. The only solution for this problem is for the workers to own the company.

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