Gov. Dayton Urges Extension of Unemployment Benefits for Mineworkers

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has sent a letter to the Minnesota House Speaker urging an extension of unemployment benefits for mineworkers. 

In the letter to Kurt Daudt, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dayton urges the house to agree to a Special Session of the Minnesota Legislature to address the extension.  

Dayton says as of Tuesday, an estimated 1,433 workers affected by mine layoffs on the Iron Range applied for unemployment benefits. 

Dayton says the layoffs were expected to be recalled this fall, however instead of workers being recalled, more are being laid off. 

Northshore Mining in Babbitt and Silver Bay announced a massive layoff in mid-November.  A large portion of the 540 workers will be out a job indefinitely. 

Magnetation also announced it could soon be idling its Plant 2 in Bovey. The layoffs could impact another 163 workers. 

Unemployment benefits for hundreds of the laid-off Iron Range workers are set to expire before the 2016 Legislative Session. 

“The layoffs and subsequent benefit exhaustion are having a crippling effect through Iron Range communities.  Not only are the mineworkers and their families struggling to determine how to survive in the face of an uncertain future.  The many industries that support the iron ore mines are struggling to retain their staffs and operations,” said Dayton, “It is critical that the state extend unemployment benefits to support mineworkers whose benefits have been exhausted while we also continue to pressure the federal government in its power to protect the U.S. steel industry.” 

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