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      Ark. Black Caucus concerned about steel mill plan

      By MICHAEL STRATFORDAssociated Press

      LITTLE ROCK (AP) - Members of the Arkansas Legislative Black Caucus say they're concerned that the governor's proposal to provide millions of dollars in state funding to help bring a large steel mill to the state doesn't include a requirement that the company hire African-American workers.

      Caucus members said at their meeting Monday that they were discouraged that Big River Steel wouldn't be required to ensure that its workforce represented the population of the majority black northeast Arkansans community where the facility is to be built.

      The current proposal requires the company to employ 525 workers with an average annual salary of $75,000.

      Arkansas Economic Development Director Grant Tennille told the caucus that adding workforce quotas would likely sink the deal, but said it was in the Legislature's purview to make that decision.

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