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American Crystal union may vote on contract next week

Locked out American Crystal Sugar workers in Mason City

A fourth vote on a contract offer from American Crystal Sugar may come next week.

Workers in Mason City and other locations have been locked out of their jobs since August 1, 2011.

Representatives from American Crystal Sugar Company met with the BCTGM (Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers, and Grain Millers Union) bargaining committee on November 15, 2012. At this meeting, the BCTGM bargaining committee asked various questions about American Crystal’s final offer, and American Crystal’s representatives provided answers to those questions.

Subsequent to the November 15, 2012 meeting, American Crystal has received indications (but not a formal notification) that the BCTGM may conduct a vote on December 1, 2012.

This potential vote is a change from the last meeting on Sept. 5, when representatives of BCTGM told management that they did not plan another vote.Bakery Workers members, with the support of the AFL-CIO, have called for a boycott of Crystal products.

Bakery Workers members, with the support of the AFL-CIO, have called for a boycott of Crystal products.

According to a story in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, American Crystal Sugar’s offer has basically remained unchanged while the number of locked out workers has dwindled from 1,300 when the lockout began to about half that number.  The Tribune also reported that “The union has three times rejected the contract because of health care cuts and changes to the role seniority would play in promotions, among other concerns.  Workers are struggling between fighting for their rights and meeting their families’ basic needs.”

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