American Crystal Sugar plant workers reject contract yet again


American Crystal Sugar Co. workers rejected a company contract offer for the fourth time in a Saturday vote, Forum reports.

The workers have been locked out of their jobs for 16 months amid a contract dispute over salary and benefits. Union officials said Saturday night that 55 percent of workers voted to reject management's offer, which is down from 63 percent in a vote this past summer. Ninety-six percent rejected the offer 16 months ago. Here's the company's version of history of the contract talks.

Here's what the company had to say in a release Saturday:

"It is a solid and generous package, similar to what we are offering our current employees, and we’re finding the pay and benefits included in it are attracting high quality area workers who are now creating a productive and successful new workforce for our Company. The Company continues to move forward and focus on running our business, processing beets and delivering sugar to our customers."

It's been one of the longest work stoppages in Minnesota history, the Star Tribune notes.

Moorhead-based Crystal Sugar is the nation's largest beet sugar producer.

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