Steelworkers warn of possible strike at Range mines

USW_int-ltd__notag_3in_RThe United Steelworkers represents miners in most Minnesota iron mines. The union is currently negotiating new contracts with the mining companies. Though several companies own the mines of the Iron Range, the contracts are generally timed to expire at the same time, in this case Sept. 1. When there’s a labor problem on the Range it usually encompasses the whole region.

Right now, USW is negotiating with U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal. Cliffs is next.

The mining industry is facing a huge crunch due to the collapse of global iron prices and has asked the unions for concessions in wages and benefits. The union is resisting that possibility.

U.S. Steel has responded to these challenges by demanding its employees accept a sweeping series of concessions throughout the Labor and Benefits Agreements. Under these circumstances, a strike or lockout is a very real possibility. We must be prepared.

Recently, the USW put out a notice to its members preparing them for the various scenarios if negotiations fail to produce a contract agreement by Sept. 1. Among them is strike preparation.

There are a lot of steps before this preliminary preparation becomes the threat of a real strike (or company lock-out). But this is a distinct step in that direction. With the crunching of the industry underway fewer resources will mean the creation of a “new normal” in Minnesota’s iron mining industry.

The Steelworkers have this to say:

This is certainly a challenging time for all of us and our families.  The uncertainty of the bargaining process, particularly in the face of such outrageous proposals from US Steel can be incredibly stressful. But our union has faced serious fights many, many times over the past 70 years.  By working together, supporting each other and remaining disciplined, we have come through and won fair contracts.  Stay strong, stay safe, and let’s continue the fight for a fair contract for all USW members at US Steel.


  1. I believe the Steelworkers are planning a rally Thursday, August 20, 4:30 pm at the Miners in Virginia. See you there.

  2. What’s the purpose of the rally?

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