Crystal Sugar workers call for cooperation and negotiation on week-long trekEast Grand Forks, Minn. (WDAZ TV) - Locked out Crystal Sugar workers are in the middle of a week long trek. The group is walking from Drayton to Moorhead, in what they're calling a Caravan for Cooperation and Negotiation.
By: Meagan Millage, WDAY
East Grand Forks, Minn. (WDAZ TV) - Locked out Crystal Sugar workers are in the middle of a week long trek. The group is walking from Drayton to Moorhead, in what they're calling a Caravan for Cooperation and Negotiation.
On a typical day locked out workers at the East Grand Forks American Crystal Sugar plant are camped out here spreading their message to cars that drive by. But today they're taking their message on the road as they continue their caravan from East Grand Forks to Crookston.
David Wasylow, EGF Locked Out Worker: "We want to put the message out that we haven't went anywhere and we want to get back to work and we want to negotiate and settle a fair contract."
The 200-mile trek from Drayton to Moorhead has locked out workers visiting seven towns. They're halfway through the journey and say communities have shown them tremendous support.
John Riskey, BCTGM Local 167G President: "Every place we've stopped at we've had people come up and talk to us and they really want this resolved. They tell us how their communities are hurting."
Workers say this journey also gives them a chance to share their personal stories of how the lockout has impacted them.
David: "I think it's more or a mental affect, worse than anything. They sleepless nights, you know, the unknown. What's going to happen in the future and which way do I go?"
The union says it will bring a new set of contract proposals to the next negotiation. They hope company executive are willing to negotiate.
John Riskey: "It's definitely a step in the right direction. If Crystal Sugar wants to be profitable again it's going to be hard for them to turn down this offer."
The lockout is now past the ten month mark, and workers say they just want cooperation next week so they can get back to work. The group will reach Moorhead on Wednesday, negotiations are scheduled to resume on Friday.