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Magma, Asarco copper contracts.

Magma, Asarco copper contracts

In the copper industry, new agreements between Magma Copper and Asarco, Inc. and Steelworkers and other unions provided for guaranteed compensation gains for employees. In contrast, the 1986 accords among the parties called for compensation cuts forced by worldwide depression in the industry. Since then, the industry has rebounded and employees at Magma have received quarterly payments under a formula in the 1986 contract linked to the price of copper. The distributions were calculated at 60 cents for each hour worked in the third quarter of 1987, and at $5.50 (the maximum under the formula), $5.25, and $5 in the following quarters. A possible payment for the fourth quarter of 1988 is in dispute.

Under the 1989 contract at Magma, each 5-cent-a-pound rise in the price of copper (up to $1.70) results in wage increases ranging from 3 to 4 cents an hour for lower rated employees to 9 or 10 cents for top-rated employees. Under the 1986 contract, each 1-cent rise in the price of copper from 71-90 cents resulted in a 10-cent pay increase, and each 1-cent rise from 91 cents to $1 resulted in a 25-cent pay increase.

The 3-year Magma contract, covering 3,100 employees in Arizona, also provides for average hourly wage increases of $1 immediately and 25 cents in the second and third years and increases in pensions.

At Asarco, Inc., the 1,600 workers will receive wage increases totaling $1.85 an hour, improvements in health insurance totaling $1.85 an hour, and improved health insurance and safety provisions. The 1986 contract provided for an initial wage cut averaging about $3.50 an hour, of which $1.75 was later restored. At Magma, the 1986 cut was about $2.82, with no provision for restoration.

The 1986 contract at Kennecott Copper Co., the largest domestic copper producer, expires on June 30, 1990. It cut wages by about $3.22 an hour and benefits by about $2.18, with no provision for restoration.
COPYRIGHT 1989 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Title Annotation:Developments in Industrial Relations
Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Oct 1, 1989
Words:336
Previous Article:Federal agencies seek improvement in quality in establishment surveys.
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