WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 03, 2011, 10:22 PM

Governor Mark Dayton Offering to be a Mediator to End American Crystal Lockout

Moorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is offering to be a mediator to reopen negotiations to end the American Crystal lockout.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is offering to be a mediator to reopen negotiations to end the American Crystal lockout. He offered up the idea at a stakeholder's meeting.

The four month lockout has caught the attention of Governor Mark Dayton, who has dealt with a similar situation. Now he is willing to lend a hand to help end the lockout.

Gov. Mark Dayton (D): “I went through this most recently with the state shut down, and we had major differences, but we had tens of thousands of employees that were being laid off involuntarily.”

Dayton says this lockout has caused a terrible divide among people, and although trust may be gone between both parties, in some cases they both need to agree to disagree.

Gov. Mark Dayton (D): “A compromise means a settlement means you agree to things you don't agree with, that means both sides have to do that.”

Governor Dayton wasn't the only one discussing his concerns over the lockout, locked out workers and their family members talked about their experiences over the last four months.

Melanie Holbeck – Wife of Locked Out Worker: “The emotions I go through on a daily basis are overwhelming. I have become so angry that the people I have known for years are not stopping this or at the very least asking what it is really about. By the end of the day all I feel is why this community would rather see people not from this area earning the dollars we would have and then put it back in our own community. “

As Holbeck finishes her talk she receives a standing ovation, as others can relate to her.

Nathan Rham, a locked out Hillsboro worker tells Dayton how this lockout has affected his plans of starting a family.

Nathan Rham – Hillsboro Locked Out Worker: “Before this happened I had planned on getting married raising a family and buying a house, now that is all on hold. Now I am just trying to survive day to day and hoping this all ends.”

Dayton stands with the crowd as each member finishes their talk as though he can feel their pain. He says he's willing to start a meeting leading to more negotiations between American Crystal Sugar officials and the union.

Gov. Mark Dayton (D): “And I will come to start it and I’ll stay as long as it needs to be to get it done.”

Dayton says he'll use any authority he has to end the lockout.