Around MN: No progress in American Crystal talks

Making Sugar

Making Sugar by gfpeck on Flickr

There’s no end in sight to the lockout at American Crystal Sugar Co. Union and company representatives met Thursday at the request of federal mediator Jeanne Frank, reports the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. The American Crystal representatives arrived with the same offer the union rejected in July. Company representatives rejected a counter offer brought forward by the union during Thursday’s meeting.

Union officials offered to negotiate potential changes to employer health coverage and possibly expand the companyʼs substance abuse policy if the company removed all its controversial wording changes to the contract that union workers worry would erode collective bargaining rights and lead to the contracting out of union jobs.

No new talks are planned.

The Forum is reporting on another development in the lockout this morning. Locked out workers living in North Dakota are ineligible for unemployment benefits. The state forbids payment to employees involved in a labor dispute.

Workers on the other side of the Red River, in Minnesota, are able to collect unemployment benefits if they are out of work due to a labor dispute.

American Crystal Sugar Co. locked out 1,300 union workers at five processing plants – in North Dakota and Minnesota – and two storage facilities after union members rejected a final contract offer on July 30.

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