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RELEASE: Rep. Lislegard bill to extend UI for mining workers receives committee approval

Wednesday, January 11, 2023

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Today, the Minnesota House Workforce Development Finance and Policy Committee unanimously approved legislation authored by Rep. Dave Lislegard (DFL – Aurora) to extend Unemployment Insurance benefits for workers who lost their jobs due to the idling of Northshore Mining. The bill would offer an additional 26 weeks of benefits for over 400 workers who were either laid off by Northshore Mining or associated businesses offering goods and services to Northshore, namely in the explosive manufacturing industry.

“Iron ore mining remains the driving force of the Iron Range economy, offering hard-working men and women an opportunity to provide economic wherewithal for their families. It’s also an industry with ups and downs, and when there are downs, they are very detrimental not just to the workers but to the entire region,” Rep. Lislegard said. “A family losing their main source of income right before the holidays and when they need to keep their home heated is adversity I wouldn’t wish on anyone. Minnesotans care about each other, and I’m pleased we’re working together in a bipartisan fashion to help these workers and their families navigate the current hardship they’re facing.”

Last May, Cleveland Cliffs announced operations at Northshore Mining, which operates a mine in Babbitt and a pellet plant in Silver Bay, would temporarily shut down. Last July, Cliffs announced NorthShore will remain idle through at least this April of this year. Given the timeline of events, many workers exhausted their regular benefits in November. The benefit extension in the bill would be offered retroactively to August 14.

The bill now goes to the Committee on Ways and Means. Video of the hearing will be available on House Public Information Services’ YouTube Channel. Companion legislation authored by Sen. Grant Hauschild (DFL – Hermantown) awaits consideration by the Minnesota Senate.