The United Steelworkers ratified a new four-year labor agreement at Cleveland-Cliffs' United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota and two mines in Michigan, company officials announced Friday.
The new contract covers 1,800 United Steelworkers (USW) members and is retroactive to Oct. 1. It runs through Sept. 30, 2022.
Steelworkers covered under the agreement work at United Taconite in Forbes/Eveleth and at "HibTac" in Hibbing in Minnesota and at Cliffs' Tilden and Empire mines in Michigan.
In a statement to members, USW officials noted that the new contract includes a signing bonus, "significant" wage hikes, increased pension contributions and maintains "high-quality, affordable health care and strong retirement benefits."
The new agreement at Cliffs ends months of negotiations with the USW. However, it does not end worries of possible strife on the Iron Range.
The USW is still involved in contentious labor talks with ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel, both of which have thousands of workers and significant operations in Minnesota. Those talks remain ongoing, although union members at both companies previously voted to authorize a strike if necessary.
ArcelorMittal runs operations in Virginia, Minn., while U.S. Steel runs Keetac in Keewatin and Minntac in Mountain Iron.
Cliffs' business in the Iron Range is not all settled. It still awaits a court decision regarding its September lawsuit against Minnesota and Mesabi Metallics over whether it can get ore-mining permits in Nashwauk, Minn., put in its name instead of Mesabi's name.
Cliffs purchased large parcels of ore-rich land in Nashwauk in December that sit in and around the Mesabi Metallics mining site.
Cliffs said the state Department of Natural Resources is refusing to change the mining permits to reflect its new ownership and that the state's inaction wrongly gives a competitor, Mesabi Metallics, access to its land.
In a town hall meeting last month, Gov. Mark Dayton said that the state hasn't had full control of the Nashwauk situation because of rules surrounding the 2016 bankruptcy filing of Mesabi Metallics's predecessor Essar Steel Minnesota.
A court hearing on the matter is scheduled next month.