About the Film


In the wind-swept sands of California's Mojave desert sits a small town called Boron, population 2000. It is home to one of the largest borates mines in the world, where close to 600 workers blast, dig, process and transport the refined mineral to a thousand manufacturers around the world. Borates are essential ingredients for life on our planet. Generations of workers have worked in the mine, and over the years have won good wages and benefits through their union, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). As part of the middle class in America, they have been able to buy their own homes, send their children to college, and retire with a good pension.

But in the fall of 2009, the owners of this mine, the Rio Tinto Group, a British-Australian multinational company, decided to drastically cut the workers' benefits when the union contract expired in November. Rio Tinto Group mines iron ore, aluminum, copper, gold, diamonds, coal, uranium and industrial minerals in over 50 countries. As the third largest mining company around the world, their net earnings in 2009 were almost $5 billion dollars on revenues of $44 billion dollars, and this was earned through the abusive tactics they have used against miners and their communities---from human right abuses to environmental destruction.

Rio Tinto threatened the miners in Boron--either accept their cutbacks in the new contract or find themselves locked out of work. On January 30th, 2010 the workers voted unaminously to reject the company's proposed contract and on January 31st, 2010, they were locked out of work.

This documentary tells the David and Goliath story of how the workers faced financial hardships but stood strong during the 107 day lockout and beat back a multinational corporation. It further reveals Rio Tinto's egregious practices in the U.S. and around the globe--from Michigan to Australia to Bougainville.

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