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Published August 25, 2011, 04:43 PM

American Crystal and Union Contract Talks Dissolve As Company Holds Steady On Offer

Just a day into renewed contract negotiations between American Crystal Sugar Company its union members, there was no progress as the company continued to offer the same proposal that 96 percent of union members rejected nearly a month ago.

By: WDAZ Staff Report,

(WDAZ-TV) Just a day into renewed contract negotiations between American Crystal Sugar Company its union members, there was no progress as the company continued to offer the same proposal that 96 percent of union members rejected nearly a month ago.

In a statement emailed late Thursday afternoon, local union president John Riskey said that union came to the table in good faith.

"We came to the table... with proposals that addressed many of the company's concerns including changes to health coverage and expanding upon the company's substance abuse policy," Riskey said in the release.

Riskey said that the company has refused to schedule another meeting. Riskey said the union calls on American Crystal to end the lockout and continue negotiations.

About 1,300 workers were locked out of facilities Aug. 1 in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa after the union's contract expired and workers rejected the company's offer.

American Crystal Sugar is the largest beet sugar processor in the U.S. It had offered a 17 percent pay increase over five years during negotiations that began May 6, but workers were upset about provisions covering job security and health care costs.

It 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.

American Crystal representatives could not be reached for comment as of 5 p.m. Thursday.

Check WDAZ.com for more on this developing story

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