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Some returning sugar workers wonder if they got a sweet deal

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When American Crystal Sugar union workers return to their jobs they will earn higher wages but will pay more expensive health care premiums and see a reduction in job security.

Over the weekend, union members narrowly ratified a new contact. They had been locked out of five factories in the Red River Valley since August of 2011. It was their fifth contract vote.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that workers expect a bumpy return to their old jobs. Union workers will work alongside employees who replaced them.

Employee meetings are scheduled over the next two weeks to determine how many union members will return. The should be back on the job in about six weeks.

Last year's sugar beet harvest will be processed and the factories will close for the summer by the time union workers return.

Based in Moorhead, American Crystal is a cooperative owned by about 2,800 sugar beet growers. It is the nation's largest sugar beet processor.

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