I’m the elected leader of Minnesota’s largest construction union, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 49. We are 14,500 members strong, and thousands of the people I serve live and work in Northeastern Minnesota. Generations of 49ers have made their living and raised their families because of mining, and we have been on the front lines of the battle to bring new mining opportunities to the Iron Range.
No organization has invested more time, resources and effort than Local 49 in the long fight to give the Iron Range the opportunity it deserves to open new mining projects. Our members have been at all the PolyMet and Twin Metals hearings, we have commented in support of exploration on every docket in front of every agency, and we have used our significant political voice to lobby elected officials at every level — including multiple presidents — to let these mine projects move forward through the permitting process.