CLEVELAND, Ohio - Cliffs Natural Resources announced today a short-term extension of its labor contract with the United Steelworkers since both parties have not reached a new agreement.
According to a press release from Cliffs, the parties have agreed that the union will not strike and the company will not lock workers out until 48 hours after providing written notice of their intent to be released from this no strike/no lockout commitment.
The contract extension covers approximately 2,400 USW-represented workers at Cliffs' Empire and Tilden mines in Marquette County, and its United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota.
The extension will keep the mines operating while negotiations continue. The current round of collective bargaining began in early May with the objective of reaching a new labor agreement. The current contract is set to expire at midnight tonight.
In the release, Cliffs officials said the company remains committed to the negotiation process and intends to reach a fair and equitable agreement.
The workers at the Tilden Mine in National Mine are represented by USW Local 4974 while those at the Empire Mine in Palmer are represented by USW Local 4950.
According to a letter updating union members on current negotiations posted Aug. 23 on the websites of both unions, the "progress has been slow."
For more on the story, see Saturday's print edition of The Mining Journal.