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Lucky Friday miners vote against arbitration to end strike

UPDATED: Wed., March 7, 2018, 9:36 p.m.

Miners stand on the picket lines across from the Lucky Friday mine in Mullan Monday, Mar. 13, 2017, the first day of a strike by the miners against Hecla, owner of the Lucky Friday mine. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Miners stand on the picket lines across from the Lucky Friday mine in Mullan Monday, Mar. 13, 2017, the first day of a strike by the miners against Hecla, owner of the Lucky Friday mine. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

Miners at the Lucky Friday Mine overwhelmingly voted against arbitration to end a strike that has dragged on for nearly a year.

According to United Steelworkers Local 5114’s Facebook page, 123 of the 174 votes tallied Wednesday night were against arbitration.

“Time to roll up the shirt sleeves and get back to the table to get this resolved with a fair contract,” Local 5114 posted on its Facebook page.

Hecla Mining Co. has already agreed to the arbitration, which is binding.

Three arbitrators would have ruled on a three-year contract in early May, according to information released by Hecla.

The arbitrators would have had two choices: They would have either selected the contract the company submitted in December as its revised final, best offer. Or, the arbitrators would have chosen the contract that expired in April 2016, with modifications agreed upon by the union and the company.

Miners at the underground silver property near Mullan, Idaho, have been on strike since March 13, after months of negotiations failed to produce a new contract.

Hecla’s initial proposal included changes to health care benefits, vacation scheduling and bonus pay tied to silver prices, the Steelworkers said at the time. Proposed changes to how work crews were assigned was also a point of contention.

Staff writer Ryan Collingwood contributed to this report


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