UPDATE 1-Miner Cliffs and union agree to extend labor contract

Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:26pm EDT

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Aug 31 (Reuters) - Iron ore and coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc said it has agreed with the United Steelworkers union (USW) to extend its current labor contract beyond Friday's midnight expiration while the two sides negotiate a new labor pact.

The Cleveland-based company said both sides also agreed that the union will not go on strike and the company will not lock out workers without 48 hours' written notice.

The contract extension covers about 2,400 USW-represented workers at Cliffs' Empire and Tilden mines in Michigan, and its United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite mines in Minnesota.

The extension will keep the mines operating while negotiations continue.

Cliffs' stock was up 10 cents, or 0.3 percent at $35.85 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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