Workers deserve a special session

Daily Editorial Board

Gov. Mark Dayton recently advocated for a special legislative session in which he hopes to extend unemployment benefits to Iron Range steelworkers who have been laid off.
 
Since last spring, about 1,000 steel workers have lost their jobs and have had trouble finding new ones, which has prompted Dayton to take action. 
 
Amid low prices for taconite and iron ore pellets, countries such as Korea and China have been accused of flooding the United States market with artificially cheap imports of steel, worsening the economic prospects of companies that cannot compete. 
 
Without government intervention, conditions could worsen for northern Minnesota. It is predicted that 540 more workers will be laid off soon, as Cliffs Natural Resources is expected to stifle iron ore production at the end of November. 
 
The aim for a special legislative session, if it occurs, would be to protect workers from the poor economic prospects they face.
 
A special session is no guarantee, however, as Dayton’s calls for such meetings — which only the governor can call for — have faced opposition historically. For example, this occurred last summer, when Dayton attempted to intervene in Lake Mille Lacs’ lackluster fishing season. 
 
We support the governor’s proposal for a special legislative session and urge the Legislature to approve an extended period of benefits for those unemployed. Despite unfortunate economic circumstances and the behavior of foreign nations, we hope that with help, the unemployed will be able to get back on their feet and find sustainable work.