Cliffs, Steelworkers reach tentative deal

Cliffs Natural Resources and the United Steelworkers of America reached a tentative agreement Wednesday for a contract covering workers in the iron industry in northern Minnesota.

Cliffs Natural Resources said in a statement posted on the company's website that the three-year contract would cover about 2,400 workers in Michigan and Minnesota, including union members at United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite in northeast Minnesota.

Cliffs Senior Vice President David Blake said in a statement that the company is pleased with the agreement, which he said is fair and equitable for both parties.

Union members still need to approve the contract.

The union's previous contract expired Sept. 1, but the company and union agreed to extend the contract without work stoppages unless the parties gave at least 48 hours' notice from either side.

Cliffs operates three facilities on the Iron Range. The two facilities that are unionized, Hibbing Taconite, and United Taconite in Eveleth, employ about 1,090 union members.

Other unions in the industry have recently negotiated new contracts. Members of the United Steelworkers approved a new three-year contract with U.S. Steel last month. ArcelorMittal USA also reached a tentative agreement with Steelworkers last month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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