Skip to main content

No deal reached on special session to help Iron Range workers


Minnesota's top lawmakers met Thursday, but could not come to an agreement on whether a special session will be held to deal with a multitude of issues.

Forum News Services reports Gov. Mark Dayton, Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk (DFL) and House Speaker Kurt Daudt (R) failed to schedule a special session to decide whether to extend the unemployment benefits of 600 laid-off Iron Range workers.

More lawmakers will now be consulted over whether to hold a session before legislature's regularly scheduled return in March, meaning the mine workers won't get an answer before Christmas.

Other topics that could be considered at a session include measures to improve the economic conditions of Minnesota's black population and whether state ID cards can be used to fly or enter federal buildings.

The Star Tribune reports that in the beleaguered Iron Range, taconite mine workers furloughed by their employers due to the downturn in the global steel market are "beginning to exhaust their unemployment benefits."

Many of them will be cut off from those checks before lawmakers return to the Capitol in the spring.

MPR reported last month Dayton called for a special session as a matter of urgency, ideally before the end of this year or early next year, to provide extra funds for the workers.

Numerous jobs have been lost either permanently or temporarily in the past year as mining firms shut down their plants. That's happened as the price of steel plummeted, in part because of cheaper material available overseas.

There is better news for some workers though. The Duluth News Tribune reports the U.S. Labor Department on Wednesday extended a program giving benefits to American workers who lost their jobs because of "unfair foreign trade."

This means the 163 Magnetation employees expected to be out of work when its Plant 2 in Bovey closes (likely next month) can get access to up to 130 weeks of unemployment benefits provided they are enrolled in approved job training.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 7.53.37 AM

Another 5,000 lbs. of goldfish removed from Carver County lakes

It all likely stemmed from people dumping their pets into local waters a few years ago.

Rosaleia Shelton

Appeal to find 19-year-old missing from Bloomington

The teen left her home on Monday afternoon.

hospital, emergency room

Deaths of twin fetuses after woman was shot ruled a double homicide

The woman was shot in the abdomen in mid-September.

Payton Willis / Gopher Basketball

Gophers improve to 5-0 with win over Jacksonville

The Gophers are establishing momentum early in the season.

Anthony Edwards

Ant's massive slam leads Timberwolves to fifth straight win

The dunk didn't count, but provided the highlight of the night.

Cam Talbot / Minnesota Wild

WIld arrive late, Cam Talbot stays on point to beat Devils

Despite a 30-minute delay, the Wild picked up a 3-2 victory.

Screen Shot 2021-11-24 at 4.10.54 PM

Appeal to find 35-year-old missing from Oak Grove home

Police say he's not believed to be in danger.

vote, election

7 MN Republicans urge states to audit 2020 election results

There has been no evidence of significant fraud in any single U.S. state.

child vaccine pexels

How many MN kids age 5-11 have received a COVID vaccine dose?

The governor says the state has one of the highest child vaccination rates in the U.S.

police lights

Seven juveniles arrested in connection with stolen vehicles in Woodbury

Woodbury authorities have issued a warning following a spate of auto thefts.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

1 dead after driver crashes into stalled vehicle on shoulder

The vehicle stopped on the side of the road was unoccupied at the time.