Dear Governor Walz, please complete the 2022 legislative work!
November 10, 2022
Dear Governor Walz,
The Laurentian Chamber of Commerce respectfully requests that you call elected Minnesota leaders back to the Capitol for a special session to complete the work of the 2022 legislative session and to address an urgent need for unemployment insurance as steelworkers face an extended idle of Northshore Mining. We believe bipartisan support in this state is more important than ever, and we need action now.
The Laurentian Chamber of Commerce represents the Iron Range business community in towns such as Eveleth, Gilbert, Mountain Iron, Virginia, Buhl, and Biwabik. While we applaud your support of legislation that addressed the underfunded Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and expanded broadband connectivity for rural Minnesota, the session ended in May without a vote on the tax and bonding bills leaving Minnesotans in limbo. The proposed tax bill would provide much-needed relief to businesses that are struggling due to inflation and a workforce shortage. Businesses would also benefit from construction activity for local bonding projects such as a new emergency services-fire response facility in Virginia, Minn. This is a public safety project for our community that is in great need of state funding.
Now we have a new, urgent matter that needs bipartisan legislative support. In July, Cleveland-Cliffs announced it is extending the idle of the company’s Northshore Mining facilities in Babbitt and Silver Bay. More than 500 employees rely on Northshore Mining to support their families. This announcement means workers will be out of work longer than the state’s 26-week eligibility window for unemployment benefits.
Cleveland-Cliffs is offering these employees SUB pay and insurance benefits based on years of service with the company. In order to keep these families in our region, an extension of unemployment insurance benefits is a paramount issue requiring special session.
Thank you for placing importance on our Minnesota families and businesses by bringing our leaders back for a special session to finish the work of the 2022 legislative session.
Teresa Appelwick, Laurentian Chamber of Commerce President/CEO
Nicholas Mathiowetz, Laurentian Chamber of Commerce 2022 Board of Directors Chair