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WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 11, 2011, 07:00 PM

American Crystal Workers rally in Moorhead

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Traffic came to a complete stop in Moorhead over the lunch hour as hundreds of union workers from around the valley rallied on the Main Avenue Bridge.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Traffic came to a complete stop in Moorhead over the lunch hour as hundreds of union workers from around the valley rallied on the Main Avenue Bridge. After nearly two weeks of no work, union workers from all the Crystal Sugar factories came to Moorhead for a show of solidarity. It is clear the lock-out is impacting families in many different ways.

Facing the windows of Crystal Sugar executives, the union workers chanted slogans and carried signs that clearly showed the frustration of the lock out. From the Center Mall in Moorhead, hundreds of locked out workers stopped traffic downtown as they made their way to the Veteran's Memorial Bridge, to show the public their unity.

For Terry Holm, a 33 year veteran of Crystal, the lock out is family wide. His three daughters married three men who work at Crystal. All without jobs, pay and insurance. Terry's grandchildren carried signs that told the story of the lock out.

Terry Holm – Union Worker: “Unprovoked war, for no reason at all we have no unreasonable requests from the union, we are just trying to maintain.”

And for Tracy Hampson, the lock out hits home in big way. His wife Steph is battling lung cancer. No health insurance comes at a time she is in treatment and fighting for her life.

Tracy Hampson – Union Worker: “Being dependent on other people and we don't like it. We have always stayed ahead of the bills and now we can't without a job.”

And it wasn't just Crystal Sugar workers rallying on the bridge. Union members from across the state of Minnesota came to show support including pilots, ironworkers and teachers. At a time we hear some union lockouts have lasted for months in the upper Midwest, this strong turnout. Calls for a fair contract, a return to work, and a plea for a jump start in negotiations with Crystal execs.

Tony St. Michel – Union Leader: “A lot of money being lost, a lot not made not being spent everyone is holding off doing anything.”

While the rally took place, other union workers continued to carry signs at entrances at the factories up and down the valley.

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