WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 16, 2011, 10:44 PM

EGF Council Signals Support to End American Crystal Lockout

American Crystal Sugar and the union will get a letter from the East Grand Forks City Council soon. The council voted unanimously to ask the two groups to meet and resolve their differences.

American Crystal Sugar and the union will get a letter from the East Grand Forks City Council soon.

The council voted unanimously to ask the two groups to meet and resolve their differences.

The East Grand Forks City Council voted to send a letter as a group to both parties making it known that they're not choosing sides, just asking for the dispute to end.

That's a different reaction than they received from the Grand Forks council.

Union workers from plants across Minnesota and North Dakota are making their presence known in the cities they live, work and play in.

Last night union members were in Grand Forks asking council members to write letters to both groups coming out with mixed opinions from the council on the issue.

"Councilman Doug Christensen misunderstood it. We never asked for a resolution supporting us or hypothetically speaking supporting the company. We just asked for a simple statement," union spokesman Mark Froemke said.

However a different scenario tonight in East Grand Forks.

"If you don't meet you're not going to move anywhere and you do have to make agreements somewhere in that period or if you just stand still naturally the meetings aren't going to do any good," says Mayor Lynn Stauss.

The council said its important for the future of the city that the two sides clear the air and get back to work, mainly because two major manufacturers, Mars and Hershey, selected the East Grand Forks plant because of its quality product.

"But that quality product exists all throughout all the factories. We want quality product, the public wants a quality product and its only going to happen if you have quality employees," council member Henry Tweten said.

Workers say the lockout is creating volatility and a divide in the community, but with the news of the letter from the council things might be looking up.

"Its one more step, its an important message, that comes from the city of East Grand Forks and its something that I think all the communities wants no matter if they agree with the union or they agree with the company on this position," says Froemke.

"We'd be happy as a little kid with a good hershey bar or mars candy bar if you people could get together and I think that should happen and I don't think you're asking to much if you ask them to talk to you," Tweten said.

All council members WDAZ contacted from the Grand Forks City Council declined to comment on the issue.

There is an American Crystal Sugar board meeting scheduled for August 24th.

Tags: