Tension mounts in American Crystal lockoutHillsboro, ND (WDAY TV) - The impasse between American Crystal Sugar and locked out workers is getting tense in Hillsboro.
The impasse between American Crystal Sugar and locked out workers is getting tense in Hillsboro. The Traill County Sheriff says he's investigating racial slurs, a claim union workers say is all a big misunderstanding.
Protestors picket outside Hillsboro's American Crystal Sugar plant's entrance, but security is circling the area, watching it closely.
Gaylen Olson – Union Representative: "There's always going to be some animosity, because they are taking over your job."
Security has a reason to be on guard. The Traill County Sheriff says racial slurs are being thrown around, and actions too.
Sheriff Mike Crocker – Traill County: "They had the big, blown up rat out there and hanging on the rat was a monkey, a noose, and a confederate flag."
But back at the union headquarters, representatives say they will not tolerate racism.
Gaylen Olson: "There's always concerns, you don't want to look bad at any time. We try to keep the high road and that's what our intentions are."
Union workers say recent actions were taken the wrong way...
Dan Dumas – Union Worker: "The monkey symbolizes us, the union workers, that we were being choked out by the rat."
Union Worker Dan Dumas hung the monkey on the noose. But the rat? That's being brought from plant to plant.
Dan Dumas: "I apologize personally that there is nothing racial about it."
American Crystal Reps. wouldn't respond on camera, but they will say their security is doing a good job and this is a union issue. More than 200 workers have been locked out of that Hillsboro plant since August 1st.