Court: Locked-out sugar workers are eligible for jobless benefits

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North Dakota’s Supreme Court has ruled that more than 400 locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar are eligible for unemployment benefits, Forum Communications reports.

The justices found a law prohibiting payments during work stoppages applies only if employees initiated the labor dispute. The reversed decision means workers could receive a total of up to $4 million.

The Associated Press notes workers at plants in Minnesota and Iowa already qualified for unemployment benefits.

Union members have been locked out since August 2011. They rejected American Crystal’s contract offer for the fourth time in December.

Brian Ingulsrud, vice president of American Crystal Sugar, told WDAY that the company has moved on with hiring new employees and is continuing with normal business.

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