U.S. Steel balancing act offers economic warning

As the United Steelworkers union and U.S. Steel inch toward a strike, many on Minnesota’s Iron Range wonder why. The economy is good. Steel is selling for a high price. So, why is U.S. Steel playing hardball with its workers? The answer exposes some concerning facts not just in the steel industry, but across corporate… 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 →

Steelworkers contract talks test strong market

This month contract negotiations opened between the United Steelworkers of America and two big steelmakers, U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. Already, the union says the two sides are far apart. Workers hope for a better outcome than the last labor negotiations in 2015. That contract froze pay and added costs to retirees. However, it also held… 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 →

Just nine miles remain on ‘Cross-Range Expressway’

I’ve told this story before, but my grandfather served on the Keewatin City Council in the 1960s. One of the most important pieces of city business at the time was largely out of his control. The state of Minnesota decided to rebuild Highway 169 as a four-lane highway, bypassing the city of Keewatin and many… Read More →

U.S. Steel to reopen Granite City Works

When the steel industry hit the skids three years ago, one of the biggest signals of woe was the shuttering of U.S. Steel’s mill in Granite City, Illinois in 2016. That mill took iron ore from the Mesabi Range. Company officials cited its closure as one of the reasons for the idling of Keewatin Taconite…. Read More →

Ben DeNucci elected to Itasca County board

Voters elected Nashwauk Mayor Ben DeNucci as the next District 5 Itasca County Commissioner in a special election held today, Tuesday, Dec. 12. DeNucci carried 959 votes, or 58 percent, while his opponent  Lawrence Township Supervisor Casey Venema carried 691 voters, or  just shy of 42 percent. This according to a late night press release… Read More →

Itasca County special election coasts to Dec. 12

On Tuesday, Dec. 12, voters will finally cast their ballots in the Itasca County District 5 commissioner special election called more than half a year ago. The seat opened with the resignation of Commissioner Mark Mandich on June 21. County officials scheduled a special election an insane six months later, with a primary in October…. Read More →

DeNucci, Venema advance in Itasca Co. primary

Ben DeNucci and Casey Venema advanced from a low-turnout Nov. 3 primary election to the Dec. 12 special election for the open District 5 Itasca County Board seat. DeNucci, the mayor of Nashwauk, won 757 votes to 449 for Venema, a Lawrence Township supervisor. Roger Weber of Nashwauk Township finished with 142 votes. The story… Read More →