Locked-Out Crystal Workers Hold Prayer Vigil

FARGO, N.D. (AP) — Locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers held a vigil Wednesday night to pray for an end to the dispute that has dragged on for four months.

More than 100 workers gathered outside the sugar company’s corporate offices in Moorhead, Minn., holding candles, singing and praying. Leaders of four area churches joined the workers.

The lockout of 1,300 workers began Aug. 1 when the company and the union could not agree on terms of a new contract. American Crystal has been using replacement workers at its sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

American Crystal was holding its annual meeting Thursday. In the same hotel, union leaders planned talks about what they say are exorbitantly high compensation packages for company executives.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Brian

    Boycott Crystal Sugar unless you’re an ass.

    • Reailty

      Note to self. Continue buying Crystal Sugar. We need more Union busting companies like this one.

    • Redneck Purist

      Note to self: Buy truckloads of Crystal Sugar. Boycott every other brand.

    • Obv.

      So are they expecting jesus to sign one of the deals they’ve already passed on?

  • pat

    Union thugs prayilng!!!! Will wonders never cease?

    • Mike

      Nice comment. Did you think of that all by yourself. I got news for you. People would not be enjoying things like paid vacations today If it were not for unions who stood up, fought and died for these rights. You should really study your history and see how we got to where we are at today.

    • God help them

      Too funny. I thought liberals didn’t believe in God. Now they’re prayin’ their arses off. I guess praying to the unions didn’t work. They better pray they’ll find new jobs, since they kissed their old ones good bye.

      • markH

        @God help them- It isn’t only liberals who aren’t believers; some conservatives also possess the ability to reason and have control of their critical faculties. Peace.

  • Esther

    I’m guessing the executive’s compensation might have to do with having to deal with the troublesome union. Kind of like school district superintendents.
    I agree with others that the longer they hold out on extremely fair compensation packages the less ability they will have to receive anything at all.
    I said this a few months ago, and will say it again, I know plenty of people who would love their jobs.

  • Union, and Proud of It

    I pray that pat, and others will some day open their eyes.

    • 20 Year Union Man

      Please explain to all of us why the Union told the members to not agree to a 13% pay raise. And dont go into less paid towards healthcare. We have all seen increases in Healthcare and there is no Union member out there that should think they are so special to not have to share in the expense.

      • Mike

        You have to understand the entire deal that was presented. The issue of contributing to the health care was not off the table for the union. And the raises were very good for these times. However the Company wants language in the contract that gives them the right to contract out their jobs. which means they can replace them anytime with seasonsl workers and you can bet that is exactly what the company is planning to do. Don’t be upset at people fighting for their jobs. More people in this country need to stand up and fight for their jobs. After all, that is how the 40 hour work week was set up, by union people who fought and died for these rights. They set the standards for paid vacaions which union or not most american workers enjoy these perks today.

        • Union Man

          Good thing they stood up so they could get kicked out the door. They got exactly what they deserved. How pompus to think that you should have it in your contract that you cant be replaced or your job contracted out. Good luck in the unemployment line, you wont be getting your job back.

          • Mike

            That is exactly the kind of thinking that will push America to the bottom. Lets just cut throat the American worker and see how far we can drag eachother down. While the richest people in this country laugh at us fighting for eachothers jobs and seeing how far we can undercut eachother. We have an economy based on 70% retail and no one will have a good enough paying job to keep the engine running. China must be laughing at us also. Great thinking

            • Union Man

              How are their throats being cut except by the Union selling them out? They were offered a great package in a terrible economy. They should have taken it. Who else in the world is guaranteed their job tomorrow? Work hard, do the best you can and you will be rewarded, its that simple. When you try to protect jobs is when worker efficiency and accuracy suffers. I know as I spent 20 years in a Union shop. When its a guarantee its taken for granted and the work suffers, pretty simple

    • Rocks in her head

      I am not a religous person but am amazed at the level of hate people have for those who are going through this with their families.

      • markH

        I don’t hate them. What I deplore is ignorance, credulity, and immoral thinking. Let’s see here; if there IS a god out there we have to consider that this deity would be more concerned about concluding a strike at a sugar plant in North Dakota than he is about children starving or dying of childhood diseases. I simply cannot stand the narcissism of the religious mentality-the idea that some “divine” or creative entity out there will actually intervene to save them from harm whilst others (and innocent young ones at that) suffer horribly. For my own part, I don’t believe a word of the religious nonsense, but I must point out the immorality of this thinking. Peace.

  • darn

    As if God would give a damn about this.

  • Kevin

    God would help those who helped themselves. By refusing to trim down during a huge recession….I am not sure they are helping themselves. Everyone I know has been kicked in the nuts by the recession. Pay freezes, pay loss, bennifit loss, unpaid time off……..its ugly out there……that was all at my company. However…..the CEO got over a million dollard raise…..and the company posted a 40 million dollar profit. I just quit my job last month……I refused to be a part of the greed and ignorance. I even had the opportunity to tell the CEO what a POS he was before leaving. Even in hard times you have to take a stand….if you have not been effected by the recession….you are blessed…..

    • markH

      “God would help those who helped themselves.” In which case, if true, we must ask ourselves why the need for the deity in the first place? Let’s just stop using the word “God” or “god” as if everyone knows what you’re talking about. And let’s not pretend to know that YOU know what some unknown, unseen, unprovable, unfalsifiable entity wants or does not want-that is arrogance at its most extreme. Peace.

  • Jay

    Lets face it, the majority of company executives are receiving HIGH compensation for sitting behind a desk and doing nothing, while the real work is being done by laborers. Trim the fat off the topside of most businesses, and maybe prices would come down on the things we purchase. I am not siding with the workers, but in this case they do make a good point. It isnt just CS that is guilty of paying their executives exhorbitant salaries.

    • ohoh

      I can assure you that CEO’s are not paid to sit be hind desks and do nothing. No doubt there are groups who have receeved bail out $$, but let’s not forget who gave it to them? Funny how in the situation with Berney Madoff and the crash of 08, no Dem Senators losst a dime. There is a good reason for Barney Frank to leave, he made multi millions out of Freddie and Fannie and left the taxpayer to pick up the tab. and there is no end in sight.

  • Teresa

    They passed on two really good contracts..in spite of the lousy economy. No sympathy here. And a prayer vigil for something you’ve brought on yourself, by your own greed, unbelievable!. Ah well….meanwhile the replacement workers are becoming more and more skilled. Remember what happened to the NWA machinists….expect it’s going to happen to the Crystal workers too. This union’s greed will be their undoing!

  • Sid

    Another union success story, add it to the auto industry, airlines, steel, mining, air traffic controllers, manufacturing, etc.etc.etc.

  • Me

    Take a look at what the union bosses make. This is public info. They are the CEO’s of the unions and some are paid millions, just like a company CEO. A union is nothing more that a business out to make as much money as possible for the union “Management”.

  • Iron Ranger

    This lockout by Crystal Sugar is just another attack to keep the working man down. The workers wanted job protections from outsourcing and a good medical plan. Dont we all want that? CEO David Berg made 2.4 million in compensation last year. Crystal Sugar made 1.5 billion but wont take some of that money and give it back to the workers who made the company so much money. Whats wrong with this picture? No wonder people are out protesting the 1%

    • sid

      If they offer a good medical plan fine, if they don’t and you want one don’t take the job. Companys owe you nothing except a wage you agree on when you come to work.

  • unclesmrgol

    Apparently, there are others who will do the work at a lower price than the union people want to charge. And attacking someone who, as owners of the company, choose to compensate themselves well — let’s just say that’s not a game-winner. any more.

    • Mike

      Your wrong the company is paying tthe replacement workers just as much and is some cases paying the replacement workers more. Again lets see how far we can undercut the American worker and give the top execs the rewards of the profit. Mean while the laborers who work hard to produce the profit can get kicked down some more. Corporate greed will bring this counrty to its knees. The rules are set up for the greedy that control the company not the people that truley make the diffenece everyday on the front lines.

  • Joseph C.

    It’s interesting how people are anti-Union, yet happily accept “the weekend” and “the 8 hr day.” Some people are too stupid to draw another breath. I think some such comments come from jealous Southern minimum-wage “right to work” slugs who are “jus hapay ta hava jab!” It’s like the good ole “I’ll taka lil lead poisonin ta hava jab!” SOME PEOPLE ARE TOO STUPID TO BE ALIVE.

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