ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Gov. Mark Dayton and key members of Minnesota’s congressional delegation are asking the federal government to expedite approval of extended unemployment benefits for workers laid off from companies that serve iron mining industry.

They told Labor Secretary Thomas Perez in a letter released Tuesday that the number of workers laid off at vendors and suppliers to Iron Range mining companies has risen to more than 3,000.

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They want Perez to approve the same Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits they say have been a lifeline to hundreds of laid-off mineworkers. But those benefits aren’t currently available to workers at vendors and suppliers, even though they’ve also been hurt by the global steel market downturn.

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TAA benefits include extended unemployment payments and training for workers who’ve lost their jobs due to foreign trade.

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