Firm hiring Iron Range replacement workers

A screen shot of a portion the classified ad hiring replacement workers for an Iron Range "metal manufacturing or processing facility" that ran in the Aug. 26, 2015 Mesabi Daily News.

A screen shot of a portion the classified ad hiring replacement workers for an Iron Range “metal manufacturing or processing facility” that ran in the Aug. 26, 2015 Mesabi Daily News.

Iron Range labor supporters were angered yesterday when the Mesabi Daily News ran a classified ad for a firm hiring replacement workers with experience in a “metal manufacturing and processing facility.” Applicants were warned that “this is a labor dispute situation — employees will be transported across a picket line.”

Given the tenuous nature of negotiations between Iron Range taconite mines and the United Steelworkers union, the immediate concern was that these workers would be used in the event of a Range strike or lockout.

Today, the Mesabi Daily News apologized for running the ad, but this still doesn’t change the underlying situation. Sometimes postings like this are done more to send a message than actually hire labor, but they are part of a cycle of high stakes negotiation tactics. Minnesota’s Iron Range is still a stronghold for labor unions and it would be difficult if not impossible to actually hire a replacement workforce here. But a notice like this provides sufficient threat.

The threat to hire what unions call “scab” labor, is a fairly typical move in the latter stages of negotiations at risk of breaking down. Labor says it’s willing to strike, and mines say that they can’t afford to be knocked down by a labor stoppage.

Underscoring this conflict, however, is the rocky condition of the global commodities markets, and historically low prices for iron ore all over the world. It adds a flare of desperation to the mix that rarely benefits collaborative thinking.



  1. Interesting…if the MDN can refuse to run this ad, I hope Cane Lakes Candies can refuse to make chocolates for a gay wedding.

  2. Bill Brown says

    It is not a Labor dispute, but a management/owner dispute refusing to pay honest people for honest work. As for refusing to run the ad, well the ad has to be the truth or the printer can refuse to run it. For the chocolates for any wedding, if the customers want some illegal drugs in the product the baker can and should refuse to fill that order. If all else is legal then order. Oh wait maybe Ranger47 might like the baker to refuse an order if one is black the other is white ? Or one is Roman Catholic while the other is Eastern Orthodox Catholic ? Or one is a Swede and the other God forbid a Norwegian ?

  3. What’s not truthful about the ad Billy Boy?

  4. Do you refer to African- Americans as “boy”, too, Ranger? Your efforts to demean are sooo blatant.

  5. All Rangers have a nickname, it’s not meant to be demeaning.

  6. That MDN ad is not an anomaly.

    Look! There’s work available in Pittsburgh, too!:

  7. This ad was not intended for hiring workers here incase of a strike or lockout. The company running this “strom engineering”, is looking for workers to hire to work at the ATI plant which locked out 2200 steelworkers. What better place to post than an iron mining area with workers laid off….

    If we have placed get locked out or go on strike here on the range, they wouldn’t look to hire locally, they bring in scabs from elsewhere!

Speak Your Mind


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