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HomeUncategorizedWorkers at North Shore Mining Vote to Join United Steelworkers Union

Workers at North Shore Mining Vote to Join United Steelworkers Union

The United Steelworkers Union (USW) represents over 850,000 workers across the United States and Canada in a variety of in­dustries including mining, automotive sup­ply, glass production, healthcare, education and service work. Earlier this month, em­ployees of North Shore Mining in Babbit and Silver Bay voted to join the union.

Union membership has been a point of dis­cussion for North Shore Mining workers a number of times over the past several years. The long layoff that ended last April, in part, motivated employees to vote to become part of USW.

The desire to have a voice in health and safety issues as they relate to the work envi­ronment and to have a say in retirement secu­rity played a part in the decision as well. Ad­ditionally, workers have been feeling uneasy about the plan to make the Silver Bay facility a swing plant, meaning that they could be idled again as the demand for iron ore pellets fluctuates.

United Steelworkers represents around 2000 workers in production facilities in Min­nesota and Michigan. North Shore Mining was the last remaining facility in the Iron Range without a union. Representatives from Cliffs indicated they respect the rights of their North Shore workforce to seek representation and that Cliffs sees the United Steelwork­ers Union as “our partner in Minnesota and throughout the United States”.

Rick Evans
Rick Evans
My wife, Marsha Kinzer (a proud DEHS Greyhound, class of ‘77) introduced me to the North Shore on vacation in 2012. It became our regular escape when the stress of our careers in education became overwhelming, and it didn’t take me long to fall in love with the breathtaking scenery, the nice people, and “salad” containing Jell-o and marshmallows. So you can either blame or thank my loving wife for my being here, because when we needed to choose a retirement hometown, Marsha advocated hard for her beloved Duluth, and here we are, six months later. Yes, this will be my first northern Minnesota winter. Yes, I welcome thoughts and prayers. Government, public policy, and social justice weighed heavily in the curriculums I taught at the high school level over a thirty-eight year career. In addition, we were a laboratory school focused on critical thinking in conjunction with technical and scientific writing. So when I found myself adrift on the great ocean of retirement and spied a raft, I jumped at the chance to take up what I’d left behind…minus the bad teachers’ lounge coffee. My position at the NSJ allows me to combine my passions for government and writing, and it’s helping me to feel less out of touch in new surroundings. When I’m not being “Cubby” (Marsha’s favorite new nickname for this green reporter) I enjoy pointing at eagles and saying, “Look, honey. There’s an eagle.” I’ve had an active side hustle as a professional musician for almost as many years as Charlie Parr. As a guitarist/singer/songwriter, I graced the stages of clubs and festivals around southern Wisconsin, including an appearance on A Prairie Home Companion. Should I even mention A Prairie Home Companion, or am I the only one here old enough to remember what that is? Look! An eagle!
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