Our workforce increased to approximately 31,800 employees and 27,800 contractors by year-end 2011. Approximately 49 percent of our employees worldwide are under collective bargaining agreements, and we work cooperatively with labor representatives from 20 unions. Our policy is to ensure fair treatment and work conditions for all employees, including rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining. Employees have the right to exercise freedom of association at all of our operations.
Employees Under Collective Bargaining Agreements
During 2011, PTFI was adversely affected by labor disruptions, including an eight-day work stoppage in July and an approximate three-month strike that concluded in December. During the strike, our operations encountered civil unrest, transportation blockades, sabotage of important operating facilities and violence. In mid-December, the financial terms of a new two-year labor agreement for PTFI's workers were reached, and the parties agreed that future wage negotiations would be based on living costs and the competitiveness of wages within Indonesia. Although a new labor agreement was reached, PTFI experienced work interruptions in early 2012, in connection with its efforts to resume normal operations. Operations and productivity at PTFI have improved, and full operations which are dependent on maintaining security and productivity in the workplace, are currently being restored.
In fourth-quarter 2011, there was an approximate two-month labor strike at Cerro Verde during the negotiation of a new labor agreement. The strike did not have a significant impact on production, and a new three-year agreement with the union was reached in late December.
In October 2011, mechanical employees working in our Miami smelter participated in an election to determine whether or not they wanted to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers. Of the 102 votes cast in this election by employees, a majority voted against representation by the union.
Subject to certain statutory requirements, Freeport-McMoRan has retained the authority and freedom to suspend, limit, curtail or restructure its operations as it deems appropriate to respond to varying economic conditions. When such decisions are made they are communicated to employees at the earliest appropriate time along with information on whose employment may be affected by the change in operations and the benefits that are available should reductions in employment occur. The Company's established policies and collective bargaining agreements set forth the processes used for determining who may be affected by any reductions in workforce associated with such operational changes.