An alliance of labor and management at U.S. Steel's two Minnesota taconite operations is getting support from Iron Range lawmakers and Gov. Mark Dayton.
Company and union representatives from Minntac in Mountain Iron and Keetac in Keewatin have formed the Iron Ore Alliance to advocate for policies that "provide United States Steel Corporation's iron ore operations support to mine, employ and invest in Minnesota."
State Rep. Tom Anzelc, DFL-Balsam Township, said Monday that he and Dayton will join the kickoff at a Wednesday news conference at the Capitol.
The Iron Ore Alliance is a joint initiative of U.S. Steel and the United
Steelworkers. Leaders from the group will share information about the alliance and their goal of sharing the story of how important U.S. Steel's iron ore operations are to Minnesota.
The company continues to work toward environmental permits for a major expansion at its Keetac facility and faces environmental issues at its Minntac facilities as well, including a long-term solution to high sulfate levels in its tailing basin. The entire taconite industry is being asked to reduce both sulfate and mercury levels from emissions. Industry officials say additional regulations could threaten jobs.
It's the second such labor-management mining group to form recently. In November the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Building and Construction Trades Council formed Jobs for Minnesotans to promote development of the state's first-ever copper mining operations. That coalition is expected to lobby the Legislature and the public through advertising campaigns for pro-mining policies.
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