Everyone likes a circus. At least, for the purposes of this blog they do.
(Doesn't take much to amuse me, does it?)
Anyway, we've all been involved in the dog and pony show at one time or another, some still are and some wish they were. The news up here today is that there are going to be another 600 that will be wishing they were still involved with it.
There are four major mining companies in the area. U.S. Steel the dominant and oldest. Originally mining iron ore, a high grade ore that is easily smelted and found/mined, until digging it out became expensive, inefficient. In the early 60's mines began to dig out taconite, a low grade ore that is plentiful, easy to transport, but more difficult to smelt but which provides a better grade of steel. (So I am told, anyway.) During the 70's, U.S. Steel employed nearly 4000 workers. After a couple of strikes in the late 70's, the workforce was dropped in half. Today, their workforce is nearly 1200 bodies, men and women.
New technologies have come on the scene and U.S. Steel has been trying to incorporate the new 'green' technology into a new processing and mining operation. After sinking millions of dollars into the project, it was shut down late last summer for an indefinite period. 500 men and women, young and old, suddenly found themselves out of work. A whole community was shut down because of this.
Other mining interests in the area are LiWu Steel, formerly Ford Taconite, which has since been sold to another concern- whose name eludes me at the moment. They, too, had lay-offs last fall, just prior to the election.
Inland Mining went to Minorca, who became Arcelor-Mittal, and had lay-offs last fall and this winter as well.
Reserve Mining became Erie Mining who sold out to LTV Steel, who shut down operations a few years ago and laid-off nearly two thousand workers. Some of the younger workers were grafted into other mining operations locally, many received early retirement.
Today, U.S. Steel announced the indefinite lay-off of 90 salaried/company officials and 510 union workers. 600 families who will have the summer off to look for work, create work or businesses, or find new jobs elsewhere. Elsewhere because this is a one-horse area. Sure, there is tourism- which in itself may be a dieing business- and a small amount of logging. A very small amount: the American companies that used forest products sold out to Canadian companies and, as predicted by Yours Truly, ceased operations within two years and created hundreds of unemployed in the logging industry. Most work in this area is mining related, as Detroit is car-related. When the mines shut down, everyone feels the pinch. It was that way when I was a kid, it's going to be that way again. A 'boom and bust' society, often first to feel the crash of economic hard times and the last to rise from the ashes.
Pre-election, I was at my favorite gun shop buying a case of ammo and got to talking with a couple customers. The older (than I) was retired and aware, our talk being of the results of the coming election, the portent of same. The younger fellow was mid twenties, working at Minorca/Acelor-Mittal and felt very confident of his union vote going to Soeterobama, that his future would be Rosy and peaches and cream after the election. We older two decided he needed an awakening and each of us asked what he was doing to prepare for the 'shit that would come if Soetero got elected'. The young stud assured us he was going to be fine, adamant he would prosper. He did ask why we thought as we did, and we had similar remarks. Have to hand it to the Kid: he took it good naturedly, listened as though he really was interested.
Outside, the 'oldster' and I talked a few minutes more- fun when you meet a kindred spirit- about the coming storm. Both of us agreed: Young Blood was in for a rude awakening.
Today, he got the rude awakening.
I sure would like to run into that Young Blood again, ask what he thinks of his union and their Dark Lord now.
And to ask if he took our warnings to heart and did some prepping for the shit-storm that's coming.
Oh- I wanna apologise for the last few weeks: been pretty torn up by the crap this country's going through and it's affected my head as well as my heart.
Bless God, God bless- and Prep on.