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Published February 26, 2013, 07:21 PM

Locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers allowed unemployment benefits

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Hundreds of locked out American Crystal Sugar workers from North Dakota are in line for millions of dollars in unemployment benefits after a state Supreme Court decision released just hours ago.

By: Kay Cooley, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) - Hundreds of locked out American Crystal Sugar workers from North Dakota are in line for millions of dollars in unemployment benefits after a state Supreme Court decision released just hours ago.

The state Supreme Court made a 3-2 decision today, ruling that all North Dakota locked out American Crystal Sugar workers are eligible for unemployment. It means workers could receive a total of up to $4 million.

American Crystal Sugar workers have been locked out since August of 2011. Since then, people working on the Minnesota side could receive unemployment, but those on the North Dakota side could not.

The ruling affects 400 North Dakota Crystal Sugar workers; 230 appealed a district judge's ruling saying they weren't eligible for jobless benefits.

The Supreme Court found that the law prohibiting workers from unemployment only stands if the employees started the dispute, and the workers were eligible because they were prevented from going to work. It's a big win for families who have been without income for a year and a half.

Alicia Burnside - Family full of locked out workers: “I just started crying because it's such great news and to see somebody like my dad and all of the other workers who have worked so hard all these years, to finally get something good out of this lockout, it means the world to me.”

Vice President of American Crystal Sugar Brian Ingulsrud would not agree to an on camera interview, but says the company has moved on with hiring new employees and is continuing with normal business.

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