August 28, 2015
By Steve Wishnis and Neal Tepel
With contracts about to expire for taconite-mine workers in Minnesota’s Mesabi Iron Range, more than 1,000 people rallied Aug. 20 in the small town of Virginia. Negotiations between the United Steelworkers and U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal, and Cliffs Natural Resources are underway in a year when 1,500 workers have been laid off, and prices for iron ore and steel have been plummeting.
The industry, which says it’s being undercut by cheap imported steel, wants to cut health benefits, with U.S. Steel proposing eliminating them for retirees. "They're trying to attack our health care, our pensions, our work schedules, all things that our grandfathers and fathers fought for, for the last 60 years," said John Arbogast, a worker at U.S. Steel's MinnTac plant, "and we're having this rally because we're not going to accept it." Sen. Amy Klobuchar told the crowd the workers deserve “a fair contract now." Read more