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Published August 25, 2011, 10:17 PM

American Crystal, Union no closer to deal after all day meeting

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - American Crystal Sugar workers still no closer to going back to their jobs after an all day meeting went no where Union and company leaders met for the first time since negotiations ended in July.

By: Travis Skonseng, WDAY

American Crystal Sugar workers still no closer to going back to their jobs after an all day meeting went no where Union and company leaders met for the first time since negotiations ended in July.

As we first told you Wednesday, a federal mediator requested both sides meet again. That meeting happened in Fargo. It started about 8 this morning, ending at 4:30 PM at a standstill.

Dan Kressin – Union Representative: “We'll have to wait and see.”

After holding out hope the past 25 days for a deal, unemployed picketers will stay even longer on the line.

Dan Kressin: “It's disappointing.”

Dan Kressin is one of the union leaders who met behind closed doors to reach a contract compromise. After nearly nine hours, negotiations stalled once again.

Dan Kressin: “It didn't happen. It's disheartening.”

Both sides suddenly ended talks, emerging from their own meeting rooms. WDAY 6 News exclusively captured the moment. You can see the unhappiness on many faces.

Dan Kressin: “They didn't seem to think that was a fair offer and they decided to stay with what they currently offered.”

Brian Ingulsrud – American Crystal Sugar Vice President: “It appeared that they weren't ready with a proposal, which was disappointing to us.”

The union came back to the bargaining table, offering to talk about health care, once the company agreed to drop all language proposals. Those include promoting qualified employees over seniority and random drug - alcohol tests.

Brian Ingulsrud: “And that frankly isn't acceptable to us. There were no specifics as to what they would actually be willing to talk about. They just said simply they were willing to talk.”

The company wants the union to have the same health care plan as non-union employees. Right now, union workers pay no monthly premium. The proposed plan covers 83% of all care. Family coverage would cost $73 a month, single coverage $24.

Brian Ingulsrud: “We would have hope they would have been willing to talk before this point.”

Both sides admit health care and language are the two main sticking points, as no changes in the 17% salary offer were talked about. Now, the waiting game plays on.

Dan Kressin: “Wish we could have got somewhere. Wish we could have got talking and set some more dates.”

No more meetings are planned. The company is training replacement workers how to process beets in factories, which starts September 8th.

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