On April 30, Hecla Mining Co. announced it has reached an agreement with the regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to settle the unfair labor practice charge filed by the United Steelworkers in March 2017. This settlement resolves the charge, without any admission of fault, penalties, or payment of back wages, the company said.
This action does not resolve the key differences in the ongoing labor dispute, nor put the two sides closer to a contract, the company added.
As part of the settlement, Hecla has rescinded the terms of its Last, Best and Final Offer implemented in March 2017. Since then, Hecla and United Steelworkers’ representatives have met more than 20 times, exchanging proposals and reaching an agreement on various language changes. A Revised Final Offer was presented to the United Steelworkers’ representatives in December, which remains on the table. A hearing regarding the terms implemented in March 2017 would therefore be a waste of resources.
The United Steelworkers Union Local 5114 went on strike on March 15, 2017, at the mine. The previous six-year contract between Hecla Mining Co. and the United Steel Workers expired in April 2016. During negotiations, both sides reached an impasse in February 2017. Hecla has reportedly proposed changes to miners’ health care, scheduling and bonus pay. Hecla has reportedly proposed changes to miners’ health care, scheduling and bonus pay. The union said Hecla downplayed how the contract demands would impact jobs at the mine and the company’s proposal created safety risks by removing team ownership of responsible bid miners from the equation.
Hecla’s production guidance remains unchanged with no material production expected from the Lucky Friday Mine in 2018, Hecla said. The Lucky Friday mine produced more than 3.5 million ounces of silver in 2016.