American Crystal says cost of lockout will pass as workers are replaced

The sugar giant will offer beet growers in the Red River Valley a lower price this year, partly because of the financial toll of its lockout of 1,300 union workers. But the company says it has already replaced more than half of those workers. Crystal promised growers higher prices next year, when the company expects all of the locked out workers will have been replaced.
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The sugar giant will offer beet growers in the Red River Valley a lower price this year, partly because of the financial toll of its lockout of 1,300 union workers. But the company says it has already replaced more than half of those workers. Crystal promised growers higher prices next year, when the company expects all of the locked out workers will have been replaced.

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American Crystal Sugar and its locked out union workers were scheduled to meet again Friday in an effort to restart contract talks. The company locked out 1,300 workers at five factories last August. This is the fourth time the two sides have met with a federal mediator to try to end the impasse.

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An American Crystal Sugar Co. executive says the company’s replacement workers are handling this fall’s sugar beet harvest well, nearly 14 months after the company locked out its union workers in a contract dispute. Meanwhile, the company and workers are arguing in court over whether the employees should get unemployment benefits.

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