Steelworkers ratify contract with Cleveland-Cliffs

Members of the United Steelworkers of America voted to ratify a new labor contract with Cleveland-Cliffs this week. The new deal maintains their current benefits while increasing their pay. Cliffs operates United Taconite and, until next year, contracts to operate Hibbing Taconite. Their plant at Northshore Mining is nonunion. Negotiations with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal… Read More →

Cliffs vows ore for Hibbing Taconite, plans for Nashwauk

Cleveland-Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves still wants to mine iron ore near Nashwauk. He vows that Hibbing Taconite will always have enough ore from his company, if they need it. Further he says Northshore Mining continues to make progress with direct-reduced iron products. Finally, he predicts smooth contract negotiations between his company and the United Steelworkers…. Read More →

Minnesota’s Iron Range region can feed itself

Minnesota’s Iron Range region is known for mining. But that’s only one of the resources provided in the Dakota legend of the Big Man Hills, or Sleeping Giant. Another has provided food far longer: the soil beneath our feet. Minnesota’s three major iron ranges hold a bad reputation for farming, due to the high iron… Read More →

Union works past deadline, but prepares for strike

All the mines on Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range run hot today, despite the expiration of labor contracts at facilities owned by U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal last night. The United Steelworkers of America agreed to stay on the job while negotiations continue. The union represents workers at mines and mills throughout the North American steel industry…. Read More →

United Steelworkers to rally Thursday over contract talks

On Thursday, Aug. 30, members and supporters of the United Steelworkers will hold rallies and demonstrations across the Mesabi Iron Range. They seek to bring attention to the union’s ongoing impasse with major steelmakers over a new labor contract. This story highlights a critical moment in the economic recovery that reached the Iron Range in 2016,… Read More →

Iron Range parades, street dances and fireworks

As a young kid I marched in the Keewatin Fourth of July parade as a patriotic penguin, Donald Duck, and other flag-festooned creatures. As an older kid I remember piling into a car with my friends, touring Range towns for street dances and fireworks. Before cell phones we would often try to anticipate where we… Read More →

Busting trusts in the 21st Century

When Hibbing mayor Victor Power took the stage at a Minneapolis Labor Day rally in 1915, he lambasted the powerful steel trust for its abuses of working people. Every person in the sprawling crowd knew he was talking about U.S. Steel. Then the world’s largest corporation, the massive reach of U.S. Steel controlled the wages… Read More →

My thoughts on gun debate in Daily Yonder

Today, the rural American online magazine The Daily Yonder published a piece I wrote about guns. It’s more personal than political. This piece reflects what I think weighs at the heart of the gun rights/gun control debate. I know that many have tread over this controversial topic. My comments section stands ready to melt down… Read More →

IRRRB backs off plan for private trust

On Wednesday, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board agreed with Commissioner Mark Phillips that plans to create a private trust for a large agency fund aren’t ready yet. The agency will take the idea back to the drawing board. I wrote about the challenges of balancing the public interest with politics just yesterday. John… Read More →

Getting politics out of IRRRB? Not so easy

With another legislative session approaching, we see new attention paid to the ever changing Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB). The IRRRB now finds itself enveloped in the recently renamed Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation. Earlier this week, a southern Minnesota Republican raised concerns about the creation of a new trust… Read More →