Union Workers Reject Latest Crystal Sugar Offer

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Locked-out union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. have rejected the latest contract offer from the company.

Union officials announced Tuesday that 92 percent of union members participated in the secret ballot, and 90 percent voted against the proposal.

Union spokesman John Riskey said in a statement that employees want to work, but will not accept a contract that “puts our jobs and the entire community at risk.”

Company vice president Brian Ingulsrud told The Associated Press Tuesday that he’s “disappointed the union voted no to working again.”

It’s the second time workers have rejected an offer.

About 1,300 workers have been locked out since Aug. 1 at plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The company is using replacement workers.

The two sides met with a mediator last week.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Walter

    Hey unemployed people, Crystal Sugar is hiring!

    • CommanderInChief

      Just say no to greedy unions!

  • Dbag

    There are plenty of other people willing to work there so they just voted themselves out of a job. The Rum River Lumber company workers went on strike and to my shock they were still there a year later. Well the company is out of business now and they never did give into the union so what good is a strike if you lose your job? I can’t imagine processing beets is all that special of a job that others can’t do it.

  • Dean

    Why is the company even bothering with the union workers? They have replacment workers doing the job, Tell the union to go eat a beet.

  • Incredible disaster

    These poor people with little or no education having their emotion charged up by a greedy union to make a foolish decision. I hope young kids will see this and recognize the benefits of a university education and the ability to analyze a situation without relying on emotion. What a sad day for these people. They are basically worthless on the job market (why don’t they see this??) Amazing

  • tom

    Just hire unemployed people to do the job, no special skill needed working with beets. easy to train the new hires, tell the union more work for them. they do not need a job that bad if they can afford to strike.

  • Randy

    What were the terms? What kind of report is this!?!? When this originally aired, back when the workers first went on strike, WCCO knew and printed the terms of the proposed contract. There was a TON of outrage in the comments section from people who could not believe that the offered terms were unacceptable to the workers. Is WCCO purposely not printing the new offer’s terms in an effort to make the union not look so greedy? Or is this simply poor reporting and the terms were not known?

    • almon

      RIGHT ON,the press IS pro union.

  • Mike

    The loss of union labor reinforces only negative outcomes for every other hourly employee and that equates to less wages and benefits. Unions bring democracy to the workforce and without them, your workplace is an uneven playing field. It’s a unequivocal fact of life.
    If 90% of the members voted this contract down, that is a very strong message that something was dreadfully wrong in the details.

    • Chris

      So Mike, what are the details???
      Are they less than the original offer?
      Why did WCCO not report that?
      Pretty lame story and even weaker comments!

    • rcam

      Well said,Mike

    • Randy

      What might be “dreadfully wrong”? Less wages? Possibly. Less benefits? Probably. But many, many companies are struggling under the yoke of union greed, where the union demands more when the company cannot afford to pay more. The slow/poor economy has hurt EVERYONE, including business and business owners. Why are business owners portrayed as evil when the simple fact is that if they cannot make profit the business will go away?
      Where is the give and take? If the company goes under, as suggested by the Rum River Lumber scenario from above, who loses? They ALL lose. I feel sorry for Crystal – Union Greed is pushing normally responsible/reasonable people into actions that will only hurt them. If the union has ITS way, Crystal will hurt today (cannot afford demands of union labor), employees will hurt tomorrow (Crystal will eventually close operations due to astronomical labor cost), and the union comes out smelling like a rose (Continued employee/employer DEPOSITS into the union coffers). I ask you – WHO is driving this issue?

    • Incredible disaster

      Mike, you’re what I’m talking about above. Now, these people would have to have increases above and beyond what they rejected the first time just to break even after this much time away and no unemployment benefits. That isn’t going to happen for them. Please quit inticing them with your normative BS ans get back to the reality they aren’t going to work for this company again. Instead of making the company the bad guy look at you and your union. On a smaller scale this is the same greed that ruined the auto industry. Srop leading these poor dummies down that path and talk real, no your union BS of how it should be.

  • Willow

    I spent 10 years as a temp, and the only benefits I had were the ones I bought myself and scrimped and saved for. Yet I was happy to have a paycheck and not be mooching off the govt. or my family members.

    When you have no other options, you work. Unions really only serve to get money to political candidates. Think about all the people who can’t join unions. We have no choice but to take what we are given, or go find a different job if we don’t like our current pay/benefits. That’s the way the free market works. I still wouldn’t join a union — my dues would be going to candidates I don’t support.

    • Whats up with you

      VS ten years of unemployment? Dosen’t sound too bad to me. Why didn’t you work on getting smart and advancing in life like everyeone else with a family instead of being a lemming?

      • Chuck

        And that comment is out of line…
        Why crack on this person who chose to work hard for his wages?
        And why call him a lemming, because what was done is the exact opposite…
        Joining the union would have been following the crowd (lemming).

  • Chuck

    Q: Why are no details given here?
    And why can’t any of the union folks participate in this dialogue to inform the rest of us? Are they too embarrassed to fess up???
    Also, WCCO should be ashamed for not covering the story properly!

  • Chris

    Too much time has passed and the union has lost its leverage… The beet crop is almost done and without the union workers at their jobs… Seems like they are going to be left out in the cold, literally! Why can’t they just acknowledge it so that they can live their lives in the real world? This has become a text book example of how NOT to negotiate for your livelyhood!

  • think about it

    They don’t want to take a contract that puts their jobs at risk??? Um… you’re not working. Your job was at risk well before August.


  • Kevin

    I say we Unionize all fast food workers! This will cause a drop in the price of my Whopper. It will also improve the quality of my Whopper! And I will get faster service while ordering my Whopper! So…you guessed it I will eat more Whoppers! Then they will need to hire more Whopper makers! Its a win…win!!!! Of course as time goes on the union Whopper makers will negotiate higher wages, and my Whopper will tripple in cost. And the union will protect bad Whopper makers, who will then urinate on my Whopper. And as Whopper makers retire, the cost will have to go up again to pay for the Whopper makers pension….so they will have to cut back on Whopper makers, which will cause a shortage of Whopper makers, again causing a cost increase! And with the union protection the quality of the Whopper makers will dive. Again causing less Whopper makers, and again increasing the cost. Of course the Whopper makers will protest and strike, shutting down Whopper maker shops. They will hold signs like “Bush Sucks” and “Its Wall Streets Fault” and “Because they pay me less, I work less for you”, and “Just because I put in $20,000 into my retirment account….does mean I should receive $3.6 million dollars fo bennefits”……and I will sadly have to become a Big Mac eater in the end……

    • keven

      I stopped reading this one when the idiot said “urinate on my whopper”.

      • Bill Clintons Cigar

        Idiot? Keven is spelled Kevin, and I think this example should be taught in every POS liberal econ college class. All I can say is brilliant, simply brilliant! Thanks for making me laugh today…..too funny….

        • kebin

          You have poopy pants Bill and you are just a big dumb factory goof who never gets lade my mommie said.

          • Kevin

            This is what is a fine picture of your union tax dollars at work…Excellent educational system in MN. This is the new level of intelligence in MN. God help us all. Oh and its “mommy”….now put your sippie cup down and go kiss “mommie” good nite…I have a feeling you will be living with her a long….long….long…time….what an ignorant POS….

  • Billy Bob

    For Gods sake. The salary of the rich has gone up nearly 300% in recent times. While the salary of the average joe has increased less than 25%. What good does having a union do? I work with unions, and I could write a book on the why they suck. Oh and by the way I used to work at a “whopper shop”. And you would be amazed at what goes on your “whopper”. You would wish it was just urine.

  • Jeremy

    The union workers and representatives are out of touch with reality. They want all the giving to be on the company side. The company has attempted to work with them, modifying proposed terms. There are plenty willing to work for the terms they are thumbing their noses at. I say let them go.

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