EAST GRAND FORKS - The union representing 1,300 sugar industry workers expressed hope that American Crystal Sugar would return to the bargaining table, even though a recent meeting proved fruitless.

Representatives of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco & Grain Millers union and American Crystal Sugar met Thursday with the help of a federal mediator, BCTGM Local 167G President John Riskey said.

“We came to the table in good faith with proposals that addressed many of the company’s concerns including changes to health coverage and expanding upon the company’s substance abuse policy,” he said.

“Unfortunately, the company ignored our ideas and stubbornly offered the same proposal that 96% of our membership rejected.

“While the company has refused to schedule another meeting, we still hope to sit down and negotiate as soon as possible.”

American Crystal Sugar has processing plants in East Grand Forks, Crookston, and Moorhead, Minn.; Hillsboro and Drayton, N.D.; and packaging and transportation sites in Chaska, Minn. and Mason City, Iowa. Workers at these facilities have been locked out since Aug. 1.

“BCTGM remains committed to negotiating a contract that is fair to workers, the company, farmers, and the Red River Valley community,” Riskey said. “We continue to call on American Crystal Sugar executives to end this lockout, let us get back to work, and continue negotiations.”

source: workdayminnesota.org


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