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Things are looking up on the Range

Over 2,000 workers on the Minnesota Iron Range have been idled over the past year as mines have wrestled with a market downturn.
On Tuesday, it was reported that Cliffs Natural Resources will reopen its taconite plants in Silver Bay, recalling 540 workers that it laid off.
Cliffs officials say that the demand for domestic ore is picking up as new trade tariffs imposed by Congress and the Obama administration have slowed imports of underpriced steel.
Hopefully, the action by Cliffs Natural Resources indicates an upward trend for the depressed Iron Range, and more workers will be called back to work.
Governor Mark Dayton lauded the announcement by Cliffs, but also noted that thousands of Range workers are still without employment. He again called for legislation to extend unemployment benefits for 26 weeks for displaced Range workers.
Like Dayton, we have sympathy for Iron Range workers, who lost jobs mostly because of political policy — the allowing of foreign steel to be imported into the country at exceptionally low prices.
And we’re not opposed to extending benefits for displaced workers.
But we are opposed to singling out one sector of the economy for those benefits. If the state is going to extend benefits, it needs to do it for all displaced workers, not just those on the Iron Range.
While the economy is showing signs of recovery, there are still those who are suffering from the housing market crash of the 2007 recession, not to mention all those laid off at factories across Minnesota, including HTI in Hutchinson.
If the state extends benefits, let’s make sure that includes all of the state’s displaced workers, not just a selected industry.