Some guy: Big steel company will not screw us

The Grand Rapids Herald Review reports on a discussion held during a recent Itasca County Regional Rail Authority meeting that pokes at a persistent rumor around northern Minnesota’s Iron Range. Namely, it’s been suggested that Essar Minnesota, the local affiliate of India-based Essar, a major global corporation moving up the ranks of the steel, ore and oil business, might bolt on the project labor agreements used over the past two years. Essar is due to start construction next year on a taconite plant near Nashwauk and has plans in place to build a steel mill attached to the mine after a few years, though that latter piece of information is itself structurally similar to a rumor. (Enhanced by 3D graphics, of course).

Well, the county mine planning chief refutes the notion that Essar will do anything but follow its labor current labor practices, though it should be noted that the company itself has not commented. Local officials are preparing letters of concern. How do you like it, Essar? Stern or vitriolic? ‘Cause, you know, we do letters hardcore, y’all.

Fun Fact: A project labor agreement is an established pact between the entity wishing to build something and the contractors and workers involved who do the building. Provisions for who is in the labor pool, where the contractors are located and how workers are compensated and protected are often part of the deal, along with fixed costs and agreements to avoid labor disputes down the line.

Fun Fact: The Itasca County Regional Rail Authority has a major influence over developments in this region because it controls the railway right-of-ways from 100 years of mining activity.

Nothing big happens on the western Mesabi without a project labor agreement and the tacit approval of the rail authority. This is adorable.


  1. the mask is starting to come off this ugly beast. by the time its totally exposed the tax payers would have been shafted and the current politicians who let this happen will be no where to be seen. how different are they from the wall street guys who left us with the bill with no consequences to them? no wonder the tea party is sweeping every race.

    am amazed at the silliness of worrying about a labor contract which lasts for only 2 years while at the same time writing off the company’s commitment to build a steel plant which could transform the range for the next 40 years. hell we paid them 60 million so they can build a steel plant not just take our ore. they’d better build it or give us back our money now when we need it most!!! we already outsourced everything abroad are we now going to start subsidizing that outsourcing also?!? that is exactly it if they just take the ore to their steel plants in India.

    anyway why are we spending any money before they get their financing straight? why dont those commissioners drag in that company’s owner and have him guarantee personally in writing that the company will fullfil every promise it made when it was begging for a state grant or they can just pay us back immediately. if they are not honoring a labor agreement just to save a few million do we think they wil spending another billion to build a steel plant????

    also how come after three years not a single column is up at that project? iron ore prices at an all time high and they complain that they cant get the financing for the project. are they dishonest or just plain stupid?

    am sick of how our elected officials tip toe around these big companies fearing they will get offended and leave minnesota. let them leave, we spent more of our tax money on this project than they did. there are plenty of others who would love to dig up our ore at today’s prices without taking our tax money.

  2. I find myself in substantial agreement with you on this. I believe these big developers deserve politeness and the basic respect you’d accord anyone with a request from taxpayers, on account of the project potential. But job #1 is an accountable plan for the spending with specific goals and quantifiable expectations. And when the dollars start changing hands public officials are representing the people’s money first, or should, anyway.

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.