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American Crystal Sugar Workers Ratify Contract

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Image: Mike HallLocked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa will soon be returning to work after they ratified a contract late last week.

The company locked out 1,300 workers, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), in August 2011. John Riskey, BCTGM Local 167G, said:

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

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports the mills have continued operating with temporary, replacement workers, but the company’s operating costs have risen since the lockout began. Riskey told the paper:

The lockout was dragging the company down…somebody needed to step up to the plate and put families and communities first and especially our children….It’s time to move on.

In other bargaining news, members of the San Francisco Symphony ratified a new 26-month contract. The musicians, members of American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM) Local 6, were forced out on strike in March for 18 days before returning to work when a tentative agreement was reached.

This article was originally posted on the AFL-CIO on April 15, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: Mike Hall is a former West Virginia newspaper reporter, staff writer for the United Mine Workers Journal and managing editor of the Seafarers Log. He came to the AFL- CIO in 1989 and have written for several federation publications, focusing on legislation and politics, especially grassroots mobilization and workplace safety.

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