It appears there could be some light at the end of the tunnel for 13-hundred locked out union employees at American Crystal Sugar. They've now been off the job for 20-months.
The union will hold another vote on whether to accept Crystal's contract offer April 13th.
April 13th will be the fifth time union employees have voted on Crystal's final contract offer. Each vote rejected it, but moved closer to approval. Forty-five-percent of union members voted in favor of it during the last vote.
And now, Union President John Riskey says they have not negotiated any changes to Crystal's contract offer. But, they have been negotiating a return to work agreement with Crystal.
John Riskey, Union President: " The time frame that they would have to bring us back. The time frame… what they call their temporary workers would have to be out of the factories."
That would go into effect, if employees vote to accept Crystal's contract. And it now seems even some die hard, locked out union employees are softening their positions on accepting it.
Cheryl Schafer, Locked Out Worker: "If there's any change in the return to work clause they had put in there… will make a deciding factor I think in the vote."
Union President, Risky and Crystal Vice-President Bryan Ingulsrud would not comment on specifics regarding that return to work agreement. However, Ingulsrud says basically, every locked out worker will have the opportunity to return to their jobs if they vote to accept the contract.
Ingulsrud says over 600 locked out workers have already resigned or retired. And he says that number could actually be much higher, since many others have found other jobs.