A federal appeals court has ruled that Tucson-based Asarco must pay out millions to union workers in copper-price bonuses

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TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that Tucson-based Asarco must pay out millions to union workers in copper-price bonuses.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found Tuesday an arbitrator didn’t exceed his authority by ordering Asarco to pay a quarterly copper-price bonus to certain union employees.

Asarco could appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Arizona Daily Star reports Asarco’s unions said last year that the unpaid bonuses totaled more than $10 million plus interest.

Asarco operates the Mission Mine in Sahuarita south of Tucson, the Silver Bell Mine in Marana, and the Ray Mine and Hayden smelter in central Arizona.

The bonus issue affects about 1,000 current and former Asarco employees hired after June 30, 2011, at the four Arizona sites and a Texas copper refinery.