Shortly after United Taconite announced record-setting production and sales numbers for the first quarter of 2020, along with record bonuses for management, union Steelworkers at Local 6860 were informed that their quarterly profit-sharing bonus would be $0. The first time in over a decade that workers have not received a quarterly profit-sharing bonus with the exception of when they were laid off a few years back.
United Taconite comparison between 1st Quarter 2019 and 2020
|United Taconite First Quarter Results||2019||2020|
|Revenues||$93.82/ton, $157.0M total||$99.53/ton, $229.4M total|
|Cost of Goods Sold||$61.94/ton, $126.1M total||$61.67/ton, $167.3M total|
|Sales Volume (in thousands of Long Tons)||1,550||2,134|
|Production Volume (in thousands of Long Tons)||4,401||4,832|
|EBITDA (Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization)||$21.2M||$22.7M|
The news was a slap in the face for most workers, who spend day after day getting their hands dirty meeting and breaking production goals. Management’s jubilance over the records and their bonuses struck a harsh chord with the union employees after they found out their expected profit-sharing check would not be coming.
Mining was deemed essential through the COVID-19 pandemic and these union workers have put themselves at risk like so many others over the last few months on large mining campuses coming in contact with dozens if not hundreds of others. Leave it to the Iron Range and 100+-year-old industry to dredge up the old narrative that a company doesn’t care about its workers as long as they are making a profit. With so many companies across the country showing appreciation for their essential workers with special incentives, it’s unfortunate to see a local company deny union employees compensation they rightly earned.
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