MN House votes to extend unemployment insurance for NorthShore miners

A bill to help laid off miners from Northshore Mining had another moment in the Minnesota Legislature Monday. The House voted in favor of an extension for unemployment insurance benefits, which expired in November 2022.

Last May, Cleveland Cliffs announced operations at Northshore Mining would temporarily shut down. Northshore operates a mine in Babbitt, and a pellet plant in Silver Bay. Last July, Cliffs announced Northshore would remain idle through at least April of 2023.

The bill offers an additional 26 weeks of benefits for over 400 workers.

The Legislation now goes to the Governor’s desk for his anticipated signature.

Rep. Dave Lislegard and Sen. Grant Hauschild worked together as co-authors.

“I’m incredibly proud we worked together to expedite this UI extension, which – for the impacted workers – will serve as a bridge to Northshore hopefully reopening this spring,” Rep. Lislegard said. “The Iron Range has been tested before, but our region is resilient. Right now though, workers, their families, and their communities have been looking to us at the Capitol to quickly deliver this urgent economic support. Passing this bill quickly sends a strong message that we’re committed to supporting Minnesotans during times of adversity, and I look forward to the governor signing the legislation swiftly.”

“I commend Rep. Lislegard for his hard work and thank him for joining me in passing this overdue legislation,” Sen. Hauschild said. “As a former miner who was laid off when LTV closed in 2001, Rep. Lislegard understands the pain that these miners and their families are feeling. His urgency to deliver relief for our miners is a strong testament to his character and proof that he’ll never forget where he came from.”

Both mines are represented by Rep. Roger Skraba, who said the vote shows that working together leads to accomplishing great things. “This bill is going to help hundreds of miners in our area that have faced significant financial hardships through no fault of their own. It’s the right thing to do for these folks and their families and I am encouraged that we could get this done in the first month of the legislative session. It is my hope that this can bridge the gap until both the Peter Mitchell Mine in Babbitt and the processing facility in Silver Bay can get up and running.”