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Steelworkers at Utac, Hibtac ratify contract with Cliffs

As part of the agreement, Cliffs will invest $4 billion in USW-represented facilities across the company, not just in Minnesota, over the contract's term.

Two United Taconite employees use tricycles to move through the concentrator building at the Forbes plant.
Two United Taconite employees use tricycles to move through the concentrator building at the Forbes plant in 2017.
Steve Kuchera / File / Duluth News Tribune
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DULUTH — Union members at Cleveland-Cliffs' mining and pelletizing facilities voted to approve a new contract.

The four-year contract between four local units of the United Steelworkers union and the company covers approximately 2,000 workers at Cliffs' United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite in Minnesota and Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan.

In a news release, USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez, who chaired the negotions said the new contract offers "significant" improvements to wages and benefits. As part of the agreement, Cliffs will invest $4 billion in USW-represented facilities across the company, not just in Minnesota, over the contract's term.

“Our work will be more prosperous and our jobs more secure with the new contract in place,” Ramirez said. “Out contract ensures that the standard of living for USW members, our families and communities will continue to improve."

In a separate news release, Cliffs CEO Lourenco Goncalves also celebrated the contract ratification.

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“We are pleased to reach new labor agreements that are fair, equitable and beneficial for our employees, their families and the company. With a strong and loyal workforce, we are confident that Cleveland-Cliffs will continue to be the benchmark in the iron and steel industry," Goncalves said. "We thank all the members of the USW and Cliffs negotiating teams for their dedication to reach these agreements.”

Cliffs' Minorca Mine in Virginia is not included in this bargaining group — it's in a bargaining group with 12,000 other workers at the other former Arcelormittal USA facilities bought by Cliffs in 2020 — but it reached a tentative agreement with the company last month. Local 6115 members are currently voting on the contract. If approved, the agreement would mean more than a 20% increase to base pay, according to a summary of the contract.

Employees at Cliffs' Northshore Mining, which is currently idled, are not represented by a union.

Negotiations between U.S. Steel and USW-represented workers at its Keetac and Minntac faciliites are ongoing. The union is planning a rally at 10 a.m. Oct. 8 in Virginia .

Related Topics: CLEVELAND-CLIFFSIRON RANGEMINING
Jimmy Lovrien covers energy, mining and the 8th Congressional District for the Duluth News Tribune. He can be reached at jlovrien@duluthnews.com or 218-723-5332.
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