Union plans national boycott of Crystal Sugar

The AFL-CIO on Monday plans to launch a nationwide boycott of American Crystal Sugar in labor's latest effort to get 1,300 union workers back on the job at five sugar beet processing plants, MPR reports.
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The AFL-CIO will kick off a nationwide boycott of American Crystal Sugar on Monday in labor's latest effort to get 1,300 union workers back on the job at five sugar beet processing plants, MPR reports.

The sugar company lockout has dragged on more than a year. In one of the most recent developments, workers have called on their children to help try to break the stalemate, WDAY recently reported. In an AFL-CIO video (below), the children talk about what the strike has meant to their families.

Just what is a lockout? It's become a more and more familiar word in business headlines (think NFL, NHL, NBA, and even the Minnesota Orchestra.) The Star Tribune this week examined lockouts, which the newspaper says have become more common.

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Crystal Sugar workers kick off national boycott

American Crystal Sugar Co.’s locked-out workers will hold rallies in front of grocery stores in Fargo and in Grand Forks on Monday as they launch a national consumer boycott of the company’s products, the Fargo Forum reports. It's the latest development in the long-running labor dispute that dates to August 2011, when about 1,300 union workers at the company’s plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa were locked out by management.

Crystal Sugar workers pressure board members

Union members are demonstrating at the homes of American Crystal Sugar's directors as the labor dispute drags on. An AFL-CIO spokesman tells the Fargo Forum the demonstrations will continue indefinitely. Roughly 1,300 workers have been locked out from plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa for more than a year.

AFL-CIO leader vows support, pledges aid for Crystal Sugar workers

President of AFL-CIO Richard Trumka promises to send $25,000 to the 1,300 union members as the labor movement escalates its campaign to end the nearly year-long lockout. Trumka said “nothing is off the table."

Crystal Sugar, union head back to bargaining table

Talks are set to resume Friday between American Crystal Sugar Co. and 1,300 locked-out union workers. It's been more than four months since the two sides last met. Union spokesman John Riskey told the Associated Press he hopes the company will "cooperate and negotiate." Company spokesman Brian Ingulsrud says the company's last contract offer stands.

Union workers picket on 1-year anniversary of Crystal Sugar lock out

A few locked out workers from American Crystal Sugar were back on the picket line Wednesday to mark the one-year anniversary of the union lockout by company. More than 1,300 workers from plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been affected by the lockout.

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Minnesota and North Dakota AFL-CIO presidents say it's a contradiction for David Berg to raise money for the needy while his company's lockout contributes to their ranks. A United Way spokesman says the agency is not connected to the American Crystal labor dispute.

Crystal Sugar CEO will not attend union meeting

American Crystal Sugar Co. officials say the company's chief executive officer will not be attending a proposed meeting with locked-out union workers, the Associated Press reports. The union has invited Crystal Sugar CEO Dave Berg to an Aug. 16 gathering that union negotiator Steven Bertelli described as an "informative, constructive discussion that could contribute to productive negotiations."

AFL-CIO, American Crystal sugar butt heads over beet prices

The Minnesota-AFL-CIO published a news release saying American Crystal’s bottom line “suffers due to ongoing lockout,” adding that the company's production costs have doubled since the strike began. American Crystal says the labor group's numbers "aren't even in the ballpark."