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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 12, 2013, 06:52 PM

Close to 100 workers locked out at Snappy in Detroit Lakes

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - Close to 100 workers at Snappy in Detroit Lakes are scrambling looking for work after the parent company locked out the workers. Health insurance costs and salaries are the sticking points.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Detroit Lakes, MN (WDAY TV) - Close to 100 workers at Snappy in Detroit Lakes are scrambling looking for work after the parent company locked out the workers. Health insurance costs and salaries are the sticking points.

The air distribution products company, now nationwide, got its start in Detroit Lakes back in 1955. It is now the country's biggest supplier of pipe and fittings for HVAC companies, but tonight longtime employees are looking for a job. Replacement workers have been hired workers like Duane Moe of Audubon are looking for work. After working 32 years for Snappy, he says he feels used.

Duane Moe – Locked Out Worker: “Yeah, new owner.”

Locked out and no job.

Duane Moe: “Maybe I can find something to keep me busy.”

Many of the locked out workers have been coming to the Minnesota Workforce Center. It is here where they figure out how to file unemployment and find new jobs.

Vicki Leaderbrand – Rural Minnesota CEP: “The first thing is shock, that people are going through is shock, because they are not expecting to come to the office or to come to the workplace and suddenly not have a job.”

The locked out workers have been coming to Rural Minnesota CEP at the Workforce Center trying to get on their feet after the lockout hit them this week.

Kelley Nowell – Rural Minnesota CEP: “A lot of times we just listen, validate their feelings and listen because they just need to express anger, frustration, emotions, fear. They say, you know, ‘I have two kids at home, I hope this doesn't last long, I have to pay my bills.’”

From job interview skills, resume writing and computer work, the center is working to keep the 100 locked out Snappy employees in the workforce.

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Vicki Leaderbrand: “The first thing we do is say, ‘OK, where are you today and where do you need to be?’”

These workers in Detroit Lakes are well aware of the locked out Crystal Sugar workers. After more than a year, that labor dispute still drags on

The parent company of Snappy did not answer our request for an interview today.

Meanwhile, the city and business leaders in Detroit Lakes are urging the locked out workers to take advantage of the services at the Minnesota Workforce Center. The chamber says area businesses are aware of the lock out and will assist those workers any way they can. Workers are encouraged to look at classified ads and on-line publications about local job openings.

Carrie Johnson – Detroit Lakes Chamber: “We can sure connect them with someone who is looking who is getting more orders or manufacturing, we would love to make those connections here in the community.”

More than half the workers who are locked out have 25 years of experience at the Detroit Lakes Snappy Plant.

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