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Mayor Brown commemorates State Mill anniversary

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Grand Forks Mayor Mike Brown speaks on June 29, 2016, to the Grand Forks Herald Editorial Board. Jesse Trelstad/ Grand Forks Herald

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the North Dakota State Mill and Elevator by the state Legislature.

Grand Forks Mayor Michael R. Brown on Tuesday read a proclamation stating June 6 will be “North Dakota State Mill Day.” The mill — located in Grand Forks — employs workers represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers’ (BCTGM) International Union, which has represented the workers since 1948.

During a presentation before the Grand Forks City Council, Brown said the mill has provided a boost to the regional economy with an annual payroll of $14 million. He also noted that the mill “grinds 33 million bushels of top-quality spring wheat and durum per year and has the capacity to store 5 million bushels of grain.”

Mark Froemke, president of the Northern Valley Labor Council AFL-CIO in Grand Forks, thanked Brown for the proclamation. Froemke also invited Brown and other council members to attend the AFL-CIO convention Thursday and Friday at the Grand Forks Ramada Inn.

Brown will provide opening remarks during the convention. Also, Gov. Doug Burgum signed a similar proclamation to be presented by State Rep. Corey Mock, D-Grand Forks, who represents District 18, where the mill is located.

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In an interview Tuesday with the Herald, Froemke said the significance of the convention being held in Grand Forks this year is “two-fold,” as the mill is located in the city and employs union workers.

“It’s a great coincidence that our yearly convention this year is in Grand Forks,” Froemke said. “That also is the same year of the 100th anniversary of the funding for the State Mill and Elevator.”

While the anniversary of the mill and the AFL-CIO convention coinciding is a “great coincidence,” Brown’s proclamation being presented within the same time frame is not. Froemke said he spoke with Brown and Councilman Bret Weber about how important the mill is to the state and requested the mayor present the proclamation.

“Mayor Brown, being the good person that he is, was willing to put forth this resolution,” Froemke said.

According to its website, the North Dakota Mill and Elevator Association officially began operations in 1922. The mill has contributed more than 50% of its profits to the state’s general fund for more than 35 years.

Also in attendance during the convention will be David B. Durkee, international president of the BCTGM Union; Bill McCarthy, president of the Minnesota AFL-CIO; and Kevin Rebeck, president of the Manitoba Federation of Labor. Froemke said elections will be held during the convention — including an election for the next president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO.

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