Sugar workers to vote a 4th time on contractby Elizabeth Baier, Minnesota Public Radio
ROCHESTER, Minn. -- American Crystal Sugar union workers will get another chance to vote on a labor contract in an effort to break a 16-month stalemate with the company.
The company locked out 1,300 union workers more than a year ago in a contract dispute. Since then, union workers have rejected the company's contract offer three times.
Gayln Olson, president of the union local at the plant in Hillsboro, N.D., said the union scheduled the vote for Dec. 1.
"We're leaving it up to the people," Olson said, "and that's why we're going to let them have a vote. It's been a while since we had a vote, six months or so. Basically, it's a democratic thing, and it's their decision whether they want to go back or not."
Olson said the contract is essentially the same one that union members rejected in June.
"It's a serious thing," Olson said. "We just hope the company would negotiate and move a little bit on some of these items, but they just don't seem like they're going to. It's not good."
Representatives for the company have said they believe the final labor contract offer is reasonable and fair to both union employees and shareholders.