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Idle at Hibbing Taconite extended until August

Updated: June 17, 2020 08:42 PM

Union leaders confirmed on Wednesday that the idle at Hibbing Taconite has been extended about a month. According to Local 2705, the plan is to bring employees back the week of July 26th.

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ArcelorMittal said in a statement the joint venture partners plan on resuming full production by August 6th.

Managing owner ArcelorMittal idled the facility on May 3rd, and had planned to bring it back online July 6th. About 650 hourly people were laid off.

Local 2705 President Chris Johnson said the company told them that the August date was forecast as a good time to come back and still meet production goals.

State senator Dave Tomassoni told us, "The blast furnace where Hibtac sends pellets is idled right now, and won't be coming up until the end of July. For the workers, at least they have what appears to be a date. Obviously, that could change. But the federal unemployment benefits, the $600 a week, should be in effect through the end of July, so workers should be able to collect those."

Still, Tomassoni added it is stressful. "People always wonder, if I'm really going to be called back to work. Is this the last idle. Is this the last time."

Northshore Mining, which is owned by Cleveland Cliffs, is also idled. So is Keewatin Taconite, which is owned by U.S. Steel.

COVID-19 has caused major industries to slow down.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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