Around MN: Teamsters back American Crystal workers

American Crystal Sugar executives say they’ve made their best offer already and don’t plan on negotiating away from their position. But now, the Teamsters Union is raising the stakes.

Union officials say their members will not make deliveries to American Crystal plants during hte lockout, WDAZ reports.

The local union requested the support of Teamsters during the lockout.

Drivers make deliveries from UPS, freight companies, maintenance and things that need to be delivered daily to American Crystal Sugar.

Representatives from Teamsters say they don’t intend to hurt the company, just send a message.

American Crystal Sugar Vice President Brian Ingulsrud said that to his knowledge the company has had no problems getting deliveries up to this point.

American Crystal Sugar employs about 1,300 people at five sugar beet processing plants in the Red River Valley. In Minnesota, the company has operations in Moorhead, East Grand Forks and Crookston. Its plants in North Dakota are in Drayton and Hillsboro.

American Crystal Sugar workers are represented by the Bakery, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union, which is part of the AFL-CIO.

The company negotiated its last contract with the union in 2004. Before the negotiations failed and the lockout began American Crystal offered workers a 17 percent pay increase over five years. Workers and union representatives seemed generally pleased with that aspect of the contract, but are opposed to increased health care costs.


MinnPost: Will Red River Valley community fabric unravel over Crystal Sugar plant lockout?

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