Talking Range labor woes at 2 p.m. on @mntoday

I’ll be doing a live video chat over at Minnesota Public Radio’s “Minnesota Today” site at 2 p.m. talking about my recent post about the union vote at Mesabi Nugget last week. The Steelworkers lost that organizing vote in this Iron Range labor region by a 2-1 margin.

I’m hoping that my satellite internet holds through the whole conversation. The video will also be archived at MNToday if you can’t be there at that time.


  1. Are you confused Aaron or am I?

    You entitle the article (and MPR discussion) “labor woes?” What the heck you talking about…woes? You state in the MPR discussion that Mesabi Nugget pays a very good wage…and the mine is very safe.

    So why do you refer to a good, safe operating company, paying great wages as woeful?

    Based on your recorded comments, I sense you’re living in the past. You refer to “unsafe” mining, low wage mining back ONE HUNDRED YEARS ago. My God lad, the world has changed. Stop living nostalgically in the past!!

  2. The DFL doesn’t give a squat about Iron Range mining Aaron.

    “Conservation Minnesota”, a supposedly non-partisan environmental group but highly staffed with DFL’ers is on record as opposing northern Minnesota mining.

    AND, there’s NOT ONE Ranger on their staff. Yet they’re trying to tell Rangers what’s best for them. B.S.! It’s insulting. In fact, the only strategic advisor that doesn’t live in the Twin Cities is Dean Johnson. The rest of them live in the Twin Cities. What do they know about the Iron Range’s needs?

  3. Wow, OK.

    So what I intended and what I believe is clear is that the “woes” I’m referring to is in reference to organized labor. I think you’d agree that the union would consider this defeat a “woe” and that’s what I meant.

    I was referring to the history of mining in a larger context; how the unions came to be and how the conditions we are now in (the wages, benefits, etc.) were achieved. As an amateur historian I am *interested* in the Iron Range of 100 years ago, but am not nostalgic for it because I am 32 years old. Everything I’ve read indicates that it was a bad time to be a miner, unless of course you were fleeing a much worse situation in Europe as many of our ancestors were at that time.

    I think that’s clear. And I have no comment on Conservation Minnesota. They are entitled to their opinions, same as Mining Minnesota is entitled to theirs. There are many DFLers that proudly support mining and many who have reservations about it. I welcome that discussion because there is a lot at stake.

    I want to make things clear. You and I aren’t far apart on this issue except in one key way. I’ll be damned if I’ll yield my stake and my children’s stake in the future of this place to any one industry or company. The mines have their stake, their interest, and I respect that. They employ a lot of people and that’s good. However, I will not act out of desperation and neither should anyone else. Too many people have worked and died for better. You argue that labor needs capital and that’s true, but capital also needs labor. And if you want to know why this great country has managed to avoid the twin perils of communism and modified feudalism I think the answer was in our labor movement.

    The economy is changing and that’s spelled trouble for “old labor.” But we are not beasts. We are an advanced society of human beings and people deserve respect in how they conduct the work of our civilization. This is my opinion. You and I have differed about labor in the past and I have little to add to that thread.

  4. Ok…I think we agree however that just because laborunion used to be one word on the Range, it is no longer. And the gap is increasing-
    labor union.

    It’s unions that are in a state of woe, not labor.

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