Idaho mining strike continues as negotiations falter



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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — Negotiations to resolve an Idaho mining strike have stalled after beginning in March, mining company officials said.

Negotiators from the Hecla Mining Co. and the United Steelworkers Union have met 21 times since about 250 union members went on strike from the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, the Coeur d'Alene Press reported .

Despite the meetings and a federal mediator, progress has not been made since mid-October, said Luke Russell, vice president of external affairs for the mining company.

"Hecla feels the talks are deadlocked," Russell said.

Union spokesman David Roose said the company's latest proposal is nearly the same as the proposal from March.

The company last week sent a letter to the striking miners, claiming the union was misinforming its members. The letter called for a vote by secret ballot to settle the dispute.

The company's letter claimed it has changed its position and reached agreement to items including increases to call-out pay, vacation time and weekly pay for short-term disability.

"Our letter is an effort to set the record straight as to how the company has modified its position throughout the negotiations," Russell said.

Roose said the union presented a hybrid proposal in October, but the company shot it down.

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Information from: Coeur d'Alene Press, http://www.cdapress.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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