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American Crystal's fiscal profits slump 32 percent

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American Crystal Sugar Co., a Moorhead-based cooperative, says its net proceeds for fiscal 2012 were $548.3 million, a 32 percent drop compared to a record-high $804.8 million for 2011, Forum Communications reports.

Click here to read more from the 2012 annual report.

Roughly 1,3000 union workers at five American Crystal factories in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been locked out since August 2011 amid a labor dispute over salary and benefits. The co-op has been using replacement workers to run the plants.

Forum Communications also reports that union leaders and supportors were not allowed to deliver a petition during American Crystal's annual meeting with shareholders on Thursday. Leaders say they have thousands of signatures calling for an end to the labor dispute.

About 55 percent of the union members rejected a company contract offer for the fourth time earlier this month. That's down from 96 percent who rejected the initial contract proposal more than 16 months ago.

Union workers launched a national consumer boycott of American Crystal Sugar’s products in mid-October.

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American Crystal, workers to restart talks

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.