Union labor to build iron nugget plant

One of the big questions I hear about the many new projects coming to fruition on the Iron Range is whether our history of labor/management conflicts would survive all the change. So far, so good.

Local unions to build iron nugget plant
Lee Bloomquist, Duluth News Tribune – 12/12/2007

A project labor agreement that guarantees the use of local union labor for construction of the world’s first commercial iron nugget plant has been reached between Steel Dynamics Inc. and Northeastern Minnesota labor unions.

The agreement ensures that all of the work to build the $235 million nugget plant near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes will be done with local union labor, said John Grahek, president of the Iron Range Building Trades.

Steel Dynamics of Fort Wayne, Ind., hopes to have a 500,000-metric-ton-per-year nugget plant operating at the site by mid-2009.

“It’s going to be an all-union job and it will put a lot of local people and contractors to work,” Grahek said. “It’s going to mean 1 million man-hours of work. And they have a seven-year plan, from what I understand, in which they could possibly add two other [nugget] modules.”

Construction on the plant’s initial module is already under way.

With the agreement, about 500 construction workers — including electricians, plumbers, carpenters, pipe fitters and laborers — are expected to be at work at the site this spring, Grahek said.

Read the whole story in today’s DNT.

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