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American Crystal Workers Reject Contract for 4th Time

PHOTO: The calls for a boycott of American Crystal Sugar products continues after locked-out workers again rejected a contract offer from the company. CREDIT: John Michaelson
PHOTO: The calls for a boycott of American Crystal Sugar products continues after locked-out workers again rejected a contract offer from the company. CREDIT: John Michaelson
December 3, 2012

MOORHEAD, Minn. - The long-running lockout at American Crystal Sugar will continue, after the workers again this weekend turned down the contract offered by the company. Union official John Riskey says this is the fourth time in 16 months that the same offer has been rejected.

"It just shows that they do not believe that this is a good deal. That they can throw employees that have worked, not only 20-30 years, but second, third-generation, and treat them like this and lock them out. We didn't ask for the lockout. The company is the one that locked out its employees."

Riskey, who is president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers International Union Local 167G, says they've always been ready to get back to the table for real give-and-take negotiations that result in a deal that's acceptable for both American Crystal and the workers.

"Where they can reach to a certain point that they can make a settlement on this with the company and feel that they would have something there that they could accept to vote on. And hopefully get the hurt on the community to come to a stop... to the growers, the shareholders, the workers' families."

Until there is resolution, Riskey says they continue to ask people across the nation to not buy anything made by Crystal Sugar, and to let its president and CEO Dave Berg know why.

"We're asking consumers to boycott Crystal Sugar products and call Dave Berg and tell him that they're not buying Crystal Sugar until he ends the lockout and bargains a fair contract with his workers."

American Crystal has said the contract offer is fair, building on a wages and benefits package of $75,000 dollars a year for the average full-time, year-round employee.

The roughly 1,300 workers at facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been locked out since August 1 of 2011.

More information is at www.mnaflcio.org.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - MN