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Labor Unions Built The Middle Class

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13,000 Men and Women
in Minnesota, North Dakota
and South Dakota are Local 49



A message from Local 49 Business Manager Glen Johnson

Business-Mgr_GJohnsonThe United States Forest Service recently announced that they are going to now require a 30 day comment period for the renewal of mineral leases that have been held in good standing by Twin Metals for decades. Mineral lease renewals in northern Minnesota have never been controversial and never required comment periods, until now.

In addition to the unprecedented act of requiring a public comment period, the Forest Service made public statements casting doubt on to their willingness to renew the leases at all, before reviewing any of the comments they are seeking.

We support strong environmental review. We support following the science. If Twin Metals or any other project in this state cannot demonstrate through a fair and science based process that they can build their project while protecting our environment then we will not support it.  No matter how many jobs the project creates.


However, both the state and federal government appear to be trying to stop a project without even bothering to have a process or look at the scientific data. That is simply outrageous, and it is absolutely hypocritical.

Anti-development forces in this state consistently call for the government to follow the science.  Government agencies are supposed to and should follow the science.  Yet here we have anti-development groups and their allies in government trying to kill a project before one shred of scientific evidence has even been gathered.

We wonder why Americans, and Minnesotans are losing faith in government – this kind of blatant political sabotage is exactly why.

We call on the Forest Service and all government agencies to follow their own processes in law. Stop making emotionally based, unscientific decisions on critical job creating projects in a northern Minnesota region in desperate need of good paying jobs.

RSVP for Twin Metals Public Hearing  July 13 – Duluth Convention Center

Members At Work

Doug Stave – Deer Creek, Minnesota

1“I just like playing with big toys,” Deer Creek, Minn. native Doug Stave says with a wide smile when asked why he chose construction as a career. The grandfather of five worked as a plumber for many years but chose to move toward heavy equipment later in life and found the IUOE Local 49 as a perfect fit for his career plans.

“You can see stuff get done, you see a lot of stuff moved in a day,” says Doug describing what he appreciates most about operating heavy equipment, which includes work in excavators, backhoes, and skid steers. Doug’s career in heavy equipment construction includes work at a new Sanford hospital in Fargo and a power plant near Fergus Falls as well as work in mines near Grand Rapids, Minn. The work often takes Doug away from his family, but he loves what he does and his family supports him.

More recently, Doug began training on a piece of equipment called a “Deckhand” at the Local 49’s training facility in Hinckley, Minn. Because of changes in construction trends, technology, and methods, continual training is a fact of life for heavy equipment operators 2like Doug. Because of the union, Doug is able to train in on new equipment free of charge and incorporate that training into his work on various projects across the state. In the case of the Deckhand, Doug would be well-equipped with the specialty skills to work on one of the handful of pipeline projects currently undergoing environmental review by the state of Minnesota. Doug describes the training provided by the union in one word, “excellent.”

All training for 49ers like Doug is provided at a training center near Hinckley, Minn., a facility that is staffed and paid for exclusively through union dues that members pay out of pocket, a perk that benefits Doug, the contractors who employ Doug, and the state’s economy as a whole. The center offers over 700 acres of space for training as well as numerous classrooms for teaching skills that range from crane operation and Commercial Drivers License training to asbestos certification.  For Doug, that means nearly limitless opportunity to grow his skills and continue his career doing what he loves to do as a 49er.

2016 summer picnic

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2016 Scholarship Raffle winners announced

What is “Right To Work” (RTW)?

Right-to-Work isn't a Do you realize that a worker can spend an entire career working at a Union shop, pay zero dues their entire career because they’re in a so-called “right-to-work” state, and then get the same pension and health care in retirement that dues paying members get?

No other organization in America is forced to provide services and benefits to people who pay nothing for those services and benefits.

It is time to bring some fairness back into this system – Unions should be allowed to charge for the services that they are legally required to provide to workers that chose to work at a Union shop.

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