MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) — Union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. decide Saturday whether to accept a contract that management calls its final offer or risk a lockout at the company’s five sugar beet processing plants.

Management gave union negotiators its final offer Thursday night. It includes an 8 percent pay increase the first year, including a $2,000 signing bonus.
Another 9 percent increase is spread over the remaining four years, but the union says health care cost increases would offset the gains.

Union leaders decided to make no recommendation to the 1,300 affected workers how they should vote.

American Crystal says that if there’s no deal, union workers will be locked out starting Monday morning. The company says it threatened a lockout because the harvest of perishable beets begins in the mid-August heat.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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