In direct response to the crisis facing thousands of Iron Range workers, the governor signed legislation extending unemployment insurance benefits Thursday. This extension will provide up to 26 weeks of coverage for those directly affected by mine layoffs and the people affected in related industries.
The Iron Range is facing an economic crisis as the global steel industry faces a slowdown in economic activity and the dumping of cheap steel in American markets. While efforts are being made to address this illegal dumping, several mines on the Range have been idled or dramatically slowed production. This slowdown has forced the layoff of thousands of miners since the summer of 2015.
Many of the workers affected by the earliest round of layoffs have exhausted their unemployment benefits. This legislation would extend those benefits from the current $1.6 billion available in the state’s unemployment fund. The total coast of the extension would be approximately $29.6 million. (S.F. 1006)