WDAY: The News Leader

Published December 01, 2012, 05:46 PM

Locked-out union workers vote no for the 4th time

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Voting just ended for locked out American Crystal Sugar workers.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Voting just ended for locked out American Crystal Sugar workers.

They're voting again today on the company's contract. And it's anyone's guess if this will end the 16 month lockout.

This is the fourth time the union has voted on this contract, and little has changed since the last time they rejected it in June. This time, they either accept it anyway, or continue the financial hardships of a lockout.

Several Moorhead workers heading in to vote at the Howard Johnson said they would once again vote, "No..." frustrated with the lack of change from the company.

But nothing is certain until the votes are counted.

Ross Perrin/Unit 266 Vice President: "If it's rejected, then we'll proceed, and if it's ratified, we'll go back to work and start making the company profitable again, like we had been."

Since 1300 workers were locked out more than a year ago, the union has picketed at factories, and in October pushed for a national boycott of American Crystal Sugar products.

They first voted in July 2011, and though they continue to reject the contract, the margins have gotten closer with each vote.

Dennis Gerlach/voter: "It's one of them things, it's so personal. It's 16 months, so people have to look at it from their own bank account and everything."

Perrin: "Just the hardships it's put on the local community has strained the relationships. So, people are taking that all into consideration."

Crystal Vice President for Administration Brian Ingulsrud said the company had record profits in 2011 and though recent profits were lower, last year was still a very good year.