City workers authorize Hibbing strike

Iron Range newsHibbing AFSCME workers voted to authorize a strike late last week. Now the city and its contract employees enter a cooling off period (no pun intended amid the record-setting cold today). The Hibbing strike could begin as soon as Jan. 14 unless talks are successful.

The main issue appears to be the city’s request for an increase in the out-of-pocket costs for health insurance and lower-than-expected pay increases.

The AFSCME workforce in Hibbing includes about 65 people, virtually all city workers except for administrators, police officers and firefighters. A Hibbing strike would snarl the state’s largest geographic city, which includes the central town, several location towns and a vast rural section as well.


  1. Carol Walsh says

    I believe MAPE represents professional/supervisory employees in Hibbing.

  2. The cities costs are increasing due to BOcare. Makes sense the city is asking for the AFSCME (or MAPE) guys to help pay for this increase by using some of the $2,500 BOcare rebate they’re receiving…

  3. Carol – That’s probably true; the paper is reporting that 65 members of AFSCME are attached to this contract, including most standard services (except police and fire).
    Bob – The Obamacare rebate goes to people who purchase their own health insurance (either through the federal or state exchanges). You don’t get a rebate if your employer offers health insurance. So don’t worry; lower middle class plow drivers aren’t rolling around in piles of your hard-earned tax dollars, Bobby. The battle over how much employers should pay of the premiums involved in health coverage is a LONGSTANDING issue in labor deals. This is the reason I continue to believe that detaching health coverage from employment is a necessary step for the future. That, however, is not intrinsically required under Obamacare (which is one of my biggest criticisms of Obamacare).

  4. Wrong Aaron…BO promised Obama promised on numerous occasions – “the average family of four will save $2,500 a year in premiums” (not just middle class plow drivers). That includes ALL families, mine, yours, your neighbors…everybody.

    Where did that number come from? Three Harvard economists wrote a paper in 2007 which quoted then-Senator Obama’s saying his health-care plan would reduce national health-care spending by $200 billion. Then, according to the New York Times, the authors “divided [$200 billion] by the country’s population, multiplied for a family of four, and rounded down slightly to a number that was easy to grasp: $2,500.”

  5. You’re getting your wish Aaron. Employers are dropping “employee sponsored insurance”, ESI. It’s dropped over 10 percentage points to under 60% of all U.S. employers now offering it…and the trend is accelerating. (I’m in that 10 percentage point drop). How ’bout your employer? Do they still offer you/pay for your health insurance? And my premiums have not dropped by $2,500 as BO promised…lier. To the contrary, they’ve gone up!

  6. When presented with facts….dead silence. Then digress to another topic. Never a factual debate.

    But that’s Saul Alinsky’s Rule #2 – “Never go outside your area of expertise” (People wonder why progressives don’t address the “real” issues. This is why. They avoid things with which they have no knowledge.)

  7. Bob. I have several jobs, three kids and a long drive out to the woods. I can’t promise a private debate after every post. If I don’t reply it’s because A) I don’t have time, or B) I don’t think it’s a good use of the time I have. But again, we have had this conversation before as well.

  8. So let me get this straight Aaron…you’re not too busy to make untrue statements, but when confronted with the truth you’re too busy to retract or defend those statements? But yet plenty of time to get on to the next subject. (Sounds a lot like Clinton (no, his wife). She was not too busy to spend hours/days saying “It was the video” but when confronted with the facts, blows it off with “What difference does it make?” But yet plenty of time to get on to the next subject).

    It’s no wonder Americans’ confidence in academic institutions is at an all-time low, with just 32% expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them…down from a high of 58% in 1973 – Gallup, June 2013

    As Friedrich said – “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you”

    • Untrue statements? By this you mean statements you don’t agree with, right? Because I didn’t say anything untrue. You extrapolated a meaning from what I said. I pointed out a flaw in your assumption (in my view). You then posted three increasingly hostile responses when I didn’t reply immediately.

      It’s no wonder American confidence in comments sections is at an all-time low. You act like a crackpot, maybe you are a crackpot. It’s hard to tell. I’d be more inclined to discuss this with you if I felt I could learn something or your intentions were anything other than to bully others into your specific, precise way of thinking. But again, and again, and again, I’ve said this to you before.

      I post news and information and some thoughts. Moving on is necessary. No one but you and me and maybe a dozen other people even see these comments. It’s a place to leave a general thought and then MOVE ON. The American health care debate will not be solved in the comments section of a post about a city contract dispute in northern Minnesota. It just won’t. I could type a 500 word response to your accusations and assertions, but you wouldn’t change your mind. And so I focus my 500 words elsewhere.

  9. “The Obamacare rebate (premium reduction of $2,500) goes to only people who purchase their own health insurance, either through the federal or state exchanges. You don’t get a rebate if your employer offers health insurance.” – Aaron Brown Jan. 5, 2014 (Not true, a lie)

    The truth is, BO stated (too many times to keep track of) – “The average family of four (all families, all Americans) will save $2,500 a year in premiums.” (not just middle class plow drivers, but all 314 million of us).

    “It’s no wonder Americans’ confidence in academic institutions is at an all-time low, with just 32% expressing “a great deal” or “quite a lot” of confidence in them…down from a high of 58% in 1973” – is a direct quote from a Gallup survey published in June, 2013. Hardly a “crackpot” organization..

  10. Bob, what you quote me saying is not a lie. It’s completely true! What you say as proof of your argument is another aspect of the issue entirely. Yes, premiums have gone up. They’ve been going up for decades. (Didn’t I say this already?) The president’s promises regarding premiums were made on the premise that the insurance pool would grow. With more people in the system, the risk is spread out more and costs shoud go down. But INSTEAD, half the states in the country sabotaged the state exchanges for political reasons and made it harder for people to get insurance. The federal exchange was overwhelmed (and poorly designed) and wham — we’ve got the current problem. But I’m not arguing about that right now. Certainly not with someone who calls me a liar using false logic and insults my profession. You’ve answered my question. You’re a crackpot. If you don’t know that, you should know that. Your behavior is what the kids call trolling. But I think you do know that and that you enjoy this. So, enjoy! But that’s all from me.

  11. BO NEVER qualified his statement….other than if BOcare is passed, he’d read the law and my premiums would go down, “period!”, down by $2,500. He lied. They’ve not only not gone down by $2,500, nor down by $1,000, nor down by even a $1….but UP for God’s sake! Up by real money to most Rangers.

    He’s a buffoon (you’ve degraded the conversation down to crack pot name calling, not me. But that’s a typical “when losing the argument” tactic). Which as a communications guy, you well know…you teach it.

    Also, I NEVER insulted you profession but simply quoted Gallop, a respectable polling firm.

    Aaron…you’ve got to think through, proof-read your stuff, before hitting send. 🙂

  12. Oh Aaron…I think you’re confusing debating, which is more or less engaging in argument by discussing opposing points of view, with trolling (again, name calling) which is more along the lines of starting arguments by posting inflammatory, off-topic comments with the purpose of provoking readers into an irrational response thereby disrupting the normal on-topic discussion.

    None of my comments are off topic nor inflammatory. Irrational responses? Out of my control…

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