Petition Helps Impacted Iron Range Workers

Mesabi Nugget Employees Helped by Petition

The petition to the U.S. Department of Labor for the extension of unemployment benefits for impacted Mesabi Nugget workers in Hoyt Lakes and Chisholm, Minn. was officially approved Friday, according to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED).

The petition was approved after DEED worked closely with federal officials.

Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, along with Representative Rick Nolan urged the Department of Labor to expedite approval of Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) petitions for Iron Range steelworkers and miners who have been impacted by recent layoffs.

“Extended unemployment benefits will help these workers and their families get through this very difficult time,” said Governor Mark Dayton. “I thank everyone who worked to secure this important assistance.”

“This decision will provide needed relief for Minnesota workers and their families. It gives workers access to the job training they need, and continued unemployment benefits,” said Lt. Governor Tina Smith. “I want to thank the DEED staff for working tirelessly with the U.S. Labor Department to expedite this request, delivering help to Minnesotans who need it. Our federal delegation members, Senators Klobuchar and Franken, and Congressman Nolan also deserve our thanks for their efforts in Washington.”

“Hard-working Iron Range steelworkers and miners who have been affected by recent layoffs deserve our support as they get back on their feet,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar. “I was pleased to be able to expedite this approval by working together with Minnesota’s other state and federal leaders to call for the approval of much-needed benefits—and then reaching out directly to the U.S. Secretary of Labor to reinforce our delegation’s efforts. Whether our Iron Range workers are pursuing training programs or a new job, they will now have the security they deserve.”

“It’s good news that laid off Iron Range workers and their families will continue to have access to critical TAA benefits to help get them through this difficult period,” said Senator Al Franken. “I’m very pleased that the Labor Department and Labor Secretary Perez have responded to our push to expedite the approval of these important education and training benefits so that people who have been hard hit by layoffs can use them and start to get back on their feet.”

“This is very good news for Range families who need immediate help to make it through this downturn. They need and deserve it. But more than that, they want to work. They want their jobs back,” said Congressman Rick Nolan. “So over the long term we need to put a stop to bad trade agreements and a broken trade enforcement process that has allowed the dumping of hundreds of millions of tons of low grade foreign government subsided steel into the U.S. marketplace – depressing prices and driving these terrible job losses on the Range.”

DEED submitted the petition on behalf of Mesabi Nugget and its 200 impacted workers who were laid off at facilities in Hoyt Lakes and Chisholm, Minn. after the parent company Steel Dynamics announced they would remain idle for at least two years.

For workers in approved job training, the approval of the petition grants access for up to 130 weeks of unemployment benefits.

“We are grateful for the news that the U.S. Department of Labor has approved our request to extend benefits for workers at Mesabi Nugget,” said DEED Commissioner Katie Clark Sieben. “It is important that workers have access to the resources they need to offset income loss and support their families during this transition.”

In addition to providing unemployment benefits to impacted workers, DEED has contracted with the Northeast Minnesota Office of Jobs and Training to assist workers with career planning, job searching and accessing training opportunities through the agency’s Dislocated Worker Program.

The program is designed to help workers get back to work as quickly as possible and overcome barriers to employment.

Mesabi Nugget is owned by parent company Steel Dynamics Inc., which is one of the largest domestic steel producers and metals recyclers in the U.S.

The company announced in May 2015 that the facilities in Hoyt Lakes and Chisholm would remain idle for at least two years, and the petition for extended benefits was submitted the following month.

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