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Published April 13, 2013, 12:05 PM

Crystal Sugar union workers to vote for 5th time

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Union workers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa who have been locked out of their jobs for 20 months at American Crystal Sugar Co. are voting on the contract for the fifth time.

By: Associated Press, Associated Press

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Union workers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa who have been locked out of their jobs for 20 months at American Crystal Sugar Co. are voting on the contract for the fifth time.

Employees last voted on the contract in December, when 55 percent voted to reject the offer. That was down 7 percent from a vote in June 2012.

Nearly 1,300 employees were locked out on Aug. 1, 2011, after they rejected the cooperative's proposed contract. Company officials say many of those employees have retired or resigned.

The union originally focused its complaints on provisions in the contract regarding seniority and job security. The company says it's a good contract with substantial increases in wages and other benefits.

American Crystal is the largest sugar beet processor in the country.

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