Legislative Group Meets to Help Those Laid Off on Iron Range

Lawmakers Work to Try and Help Laid Off Steelworkers

No final decision has been made yet on benefits for laid off Iron Range mining workers.

The Iron Range Unemployment Legislative Working Group met for the first time Thursday in St. Paul preparing for a possible special session at the state capitol.

The goal is to try and help out the more than 1,000 unemployed steel workers whose unemployment benefits have either run out or will run out by March.

A number of people spoke about the situation at the meeting.

Including Hibbing’s mayor who explained how this issue has a big impact on the entire state.

“If these people keep leaving our schools are going to shut down more and more. Not just in Hibbing but like the mayor of Babbitt said, all across the Iron Range. So this affects everybody up there,” said Mayor Rick Cannata.

The group is considering two proposals.

Both include an additional 26 weeks of unemployment eligibility and expanding benefits to others affected by the mining downturn, like employees of mining industry vendors.

Legislative leaders and Governor Dayton are expected to meet Friday to discuss a potential special session.

Categories: Business-imported, Community-imported, Iron Range MN-imported, Mining-imported, News-imported