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WDAY: The News Leader

Published June 25, 2012, 05:45 PM

Locked out union workers want to get back to the negotiating table

(WDAY TV) - 63 percent voted against American Crystal Sugar's off, but locked out union workers still want to return to their jobs.

By: Lezlie Johnson, WDAY

63 percent voted against American Crystal Sugar's off, but locked out union workers still want to return to their jobs and still want to get back to the negotiating table.

After 11-months without work, some are trying to find other sources of income, but say it can be hard to get hired.

Jerome Holter and his wife have worked for American Crystal for more than 28 years, but nearly 11 months of a lock-out is taking its toll on their lives and wallets.

Jerome: We're getting by, I mean we're old school, we know how to live with less money, but the money thing, we'll end up having to find jobs somewhere.

And finding a job can be the biggest challenge of all.

Jerome Holter – Locked out Worker: “Being a part of this where you're locked out, there aren't very many companies that really want to take a chance on you, so it's been tough.”

The Holters will continue their job search after 63 percent of voters opted against Crystal Sugars latest offer, which many workers say is unfair. The union's first vote before the lock-out had 96-percent of people voting "no." A second in November…90-percent.

John Riskey – Union Rep.: “That's huge, that shows people that have hardship for 11 months that they still want the company to come to the table and negotiate and get a fair settlement.”

Sonny Collison – Locked out Worker: “I was surprised myself it is as strong as it is after this long but people are bonding together, the union is a family.”

After rejecting a contract offer from the company for the third time, some workers are wondering what's next, but people like Holter are hoping to continue their fight to get their jobs back and do whatever it takes to get a contract they say is fair for everyone.

Jerome Holter – Locked out Worker: “I hope so, that's been our job, we've been there this long, we'd planned on retiring from there eventually.”

Locked out workers say they want get back to the negotiating table, and hopefully come to an agreement before August, because of this year's large sugar crop.

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