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Update: American Crystal Lockout Ends - Union Accepts Offer - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Update: American Crystal Lockout Ends - Union Accepts Offer

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Updated 9:20 PM

 Hundreds of American Crystal Union members will soon go back to work. Saturday, the union voted by a 55% margin to accept the company's offer that has been on the table for over a year and a half.

Union members have been locked out since August 2011. During the process of negotiating a new contract, union workers disagreed with the company's proposal to change seniority rules, have workers pay for a portion of health insurance and other contract wording. Over the past 20 months, the union has dropped from 1300 member to just hundreds. Many have retired or found other jobs.

Union president John Riskey says the union deserves a better contract, but workers needed to be able to support their families, so they took the offer.

"Stop the hurt that's been done to our communities. Stop the hurt that's been done to our brothers and sister and especially our children," says Riskey.

Riskey says union workers will start transitioning back into their jobs over the next few weeks. Based on their contract, the company has 40 days to work something out with the union to get them back to work.

 

From American Crystal Sugar Union (BCTGM Local 167G):

A majority of union members locked out by American Crystal Sugar, since August 1, 2011, have voted to ratify the contract proposed by company management.

"This means Crystal Sugar's skilled, experienced workers will be transitioning back to the factories to start repairing the damage that's been done over the past 20 plus months," said John Riskey, President of Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 167G.

"BCTGM members thank all who have supported our stand for justice and dignity and who have helped our families survive these hard times."

The contract was ratified by a 55% majority.

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