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Published August 29, 2011, 05:30 AM

Crystal Sugar talks stop

FARGO, N.D. — American Crystal Sugar Co. talks with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union broke down again on Aug. 25, after the company declined to accept compromise language offered by the union.

By: Mikkel Pates, Agweek

FARGO, N.D. — American Crystal Sugar Co. talks with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union broke down again on Aug. 25, after the company declined to accept compromise language offered by the union.

Some 1,300 workers at Crystal’s five plants in the Red River Valley, and two shipping and storage sites, have been locked out since Aug. 1.

The farmer-owned cooperative’s management has planned to run its factories with replacement workers for a harvest, which will start North Dakota workers don’t qualify for unemployment benefits, says North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem.

State officials told Fargo, N.D.-based The Forum newspaper that a lawyer for the union has given notice that it plans to appeal the denial.

The union says the company in a one-day negotiation, requested by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, offered the same deal that members voted down by 96 percent. The union offered to negotiate changes to employer health coverage and possibly expand the substance abuse policy, if the company changed language that the union said would mean contracting out union jobs.

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