United Steelworkers sign agreements with Northshore Mine and NewRange Copper

August 30, 2023

Cleveland-Cliffs and the United Steelworkers (USW) have reached a tentative three-year agreement that will cover the approximately 430 workers who mine taconite in Babbitt and make iron ore pellets in Silver Bay at the Northshore Mine.

In July, workers at the Northshore Mine voted to unionize. Northshore Mine was the only remaining taconite mine on Minnesota’s Iron Range without a union.

“The United Steelworkers have demonstrated their unwavering support of Cleveland-Cliffs throughout the years, and this new labor agreement for Northshore further strengthens our collaborative partnership. We look forward to working together with our new USW partners at Northshore and continuing to build a strong workforce for our present and future competitiveness.” Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland Cliffs President and CEO said in a statement.

Officials say the agreement is pending ratification by USW local union membership.

The USW represents 2,000 workers at four of the other Cliff’s mining facilities in Minnesota and Northern Michigan.

The announcement follows an earlier announcement from USW that it had reached an agreement to work together with NewRange Copper Nickel LLC (New Range) as it looks to mine a variety of critical minerals in northeastern Minnesota.

USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who represents workers in Minnesota and eight other states, said that it is essential that new mines continue the tradition of providing good, community-sustaining jobs.

“USW jobs on the Iron Range are safer and pay more than ever thanks to the leadership, hard work and dedication of union members,” said Ramirez. “The next generation of workers also deserves the rights, benefits and security of a fair, union contract.”

NewRange, a joint venture between Polymet Mining Corp. and Teck Resources Limited, holds deposits for copper, nickel, cobalt, and platinum group metal (PGM) minerals needed for meeting the country’s growing clean energy and transportation needs.

“USW members and their families have lived and worked in Minnesota’s Iron Range for generations. As we look to the future, it’s essential that we’re building out all our domestic supply chains,” said Ramirez. “That begins with mining.”

Tannice McCoy, general manager of NewRange, said she similarly looks forward to working with the USW to develop a domestic source of critical minerals needed for the clean energy economy.

“We are pleased to make this important cooperation agreement with the United Steelworkers,” said McCoy. “It is built on the shared value of responsible mining that provides economic opportunity to workers and surrounding communities while protecting the environment.”

 Photo credit: NewRange Copper Nickel


Related article search: