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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 04, 2011, 06:51 PM

Health insurance woes for locked out American Crystal employees

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - The "no-vote" by union workers and the lock-out that followed at Crystal Sugar have brought about a hardship to hundreds of families that comes at a critical time for some. No health insurance.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The "no-vote" by union workers and the lock-out that followed at Crystal Sugar have brought about a hardship to hundreds of families that comes at a critical time for some. No health insurance. And for a family we first met three years ago following a tragic car accident, the lock-out has meant a set-back.

Dan Dumas of Fargo joined fellow Crystal Sugar union workers outside the plant in Hillsboro.

Dan Dumas – Union Worker: “Lots of support.”

A sugar boiler here, Dumas has been with Crystal Sugar since 1978.

Dan Dumas: “It's tough, she is a miracle, she wasn't supposed to live, it comes from above.

But as Dumas carries his sign, his thoughts are with his daughter Kayla, who has traveled an incredible journey. We first Kayla her back in 2008. At the time she was recovering from a Christmas Time car accident that nearly took her life. She has spent the last three years in rehab. Today she has her own house, and is in college majoring in graphic design. But because of the lock out, and no health insurance for her father, Kayla's rehab at Sanford has been cut off shutdown.

Dan Dumas: “Without it, Kayla cannot move forward, she did not have a choice, she did not chose to have a car blow through a stop sign and hit me.”

But some who are critical of the union vote to not accept the contract say the members have made their bed now they have to sleep in it. But workers like Dan say they are thinking long term.

Kayla is hoping the lock out is over soon, she wants to continue her progress in rehab. She never imagined a dispute over a labor contract would impact her progress and recovery.

Crystal Union officials say this is the situation they wanted to avoid, and they say that is why they offered, what they call: a lucrative contract. They call it "disappointing" that the union voted no.

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