Steelworkers ring bells for red kettle

ISHPEMING – Employees of Cliffs Natural Resources’ Empire and Tilden mines have raised nearly $2,000 for the Ishpeming Salvation Army by participating in the organization’s annual red kettle drive.

Members of the United Steelworkers Local Unions 4974 and 4950 rotated shifts ringing the bell and collecting donations in the Salvation Army’s red kettles – which were placed at both the Tilden and Empire as well as the Empire pit – from mine employees, visitors and contractors.

“Over the years, the red kettle drive at Cliffs has been quite successful in raising donations for the Salvation Army to help brighten the Christmas Holiday for those in need,” said Jim Jarvi, president of USW Local 4974. “Our thanks to everyone who donated and the employees who happily braved the elements at the entrances ringing the bell.”

“For many years, the United Steelworkers have been organizing the kettle drives at Cliffs Michigan operations,” said Peter Heikkala, union safety representative of USW Local 4950. “On behalf of those that donate year after year, we feel very fortunate to contribute to those in need within our communities.”

James Kochevar, general manager of Cliffs Michigan Operations, called the Salvation Army’s kettle campaign “the major fundraiser for the holidays” and said, “We’re happy to be able to have the kettles on our property, making it easy for individuals to donate.”

The money collected will go toward buying food for the Salvation Army food bank and to providing assistance for those in need in the community.

Zach Jay can be reached at 906-486-4401.