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Published April 30, 2012, 09:09 AM

Who is next to be locked out?

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. — I am neither a union member nor a beet grower. But I am a farmer, and with my personal experience in the dairy business dealing with corporate entities, I know firsthand the unfair playing fields, corruption, power and greedy behavior that exists while good hard-working people and families on dairy farms have to take much less in money, have fewer rights and are treated unjustly.

By: LoriJayne M. Grahn , Agweek

PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. — I am neither a union member nor a beet grower. But I am a farmer, and with my personal experience in the dairy business dealing with corporate entities, I know firsthand the unfair playing fields, corruption, power and greedy behavior that exists while good hard-working people and families on dairy farms have to take much less in money, have fewer rights and are treated unjustly.

The facts and testimonies are out there to support these claims. Many people don’t speak up or fight because of the intimidation and abuses of the corporate powers, where too many people are told to “put up, shut up or get out.”

These practices toward good, hard-working people are found in too many places, and continue to happen. It’s a shame.

Recently, on a local PBS channel, I watched a program about the “Triangle Fire” of 1911 in New York. One can clearly learn why hard workers needed to unionize for the sake of their well-being and survival. From that tragedy came many of our first safety laws and important, deserved rights. Though the times have changed, some things have not.

If American Crystal Sugar Co., gets away with locking out hard-working people just because of disagreements on a new contract instead of continuing negotiating practices, who else among any of us hard-working people will be next to be locked out from our jobs because of this ongoing, unjustified action?

Is locking out people to become the way for entities to rid themselves of workers who disagree with issues that raise legitimate concerns on fairness and rights for one’s well-being? The greedy approach for profits where the scale tilts only to one side is unacceptable, and so is the lockout.

We should be supporting the locked out workers who want and fight for rights and benefits that have been lost to many of us.

The attitude of, “We don’t get those rights and benefits so why should they?” is wrong. The question is, “Why don’t we all get the fair rights and benefits we all deserve?”

The bar has been allowed to be lowered for most all of us hard-working people everywhere. We should seriously be supporting those who are holding the bar and raising it in the interest of everyone’s well-being, fairness and rights, wherever we work.

These good working people were not fired, they did not walk out and they want to negotiate. The alarming fact is they showed up for work but were locked out maliciously, and they continue to be locked out. This unjustified action has harmed and devastates many lives. The lockout is senseless, and a shame to the conduct of a business and its success. It affects us all somehow in some way.

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