WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published September 23, 2011, 03:17 PM

Liberal Talk Radio, TV Host Ed Schultz Aims to Put American Crystal Labor Dispute on 'National Map'

(WDAZ-TV) - Liberal talk radio and MSNBC host Ed Schultz has waded back into the American Crystal Sugar Company contract dispute with its about 1,300 unionized workers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.

By: Rick Abbott, WDAZ

(WDAZ-TV) - Liberal talk radio and MSNBC host Ed Schultz has waded back into the American Crystal Sugar Company contract dispute that has been ongoing between the company and its about 1,300 unionized workers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa since August 1.

Schultz, on his nationally-syndicated radio show on Thursday, had some choice words for Crystal executives and growers alike.

"There's a labor conflict going on in the agriculture community in the upper Midwest. I think it has really blindsided folks. We can go down the road of sugar subsidies if you want. We can go down the road of agriculture disaster relations and droughts and flood... This country has done a pretty good job for American farmers," Schultz said.

The union workers were locked out of facilities August 1 in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa after the union's contract expired and workers rejected the company's offer.

Schultz pointed the finger at the sugar beet growers, saying they could do more to bring the lockout to an end.

"I've gotta do this story because farmers are involved in this company and they could step up to the plate if they wanted to... If you fricking farmers are on the land right now doing the sugar beet thing, shame on you," Schultz said in a booming voice.

Schultz repeatedly stated the importance of the story and his intention to bring it to the national stage.

"This story needs to be told. My mission is to get more facts and more figures and more guests to talk about it on national television and say 'folks, we really don't need the farm bill that we have.'" Schultz said. "I'm gonna put American Crystal Sugar on the national map."

Born in Norfolk, VA, Schultz moved to Minnesota to play at MSUM on a football scholarship.

He also worked at a sportscaster at two different Fargo television stations and became well-known across the state for high-energy radio and TV play-by-play.

American Crystal Sugar is the largest beet sugar processor in the U.S. It had offered a 17 percent pay increase over five years during negotiations that began May 6, but workers were upset about provisions covering job security and health care costs.

It has processing plants in East Grand Forks, Crookston, and Moorhead, Minn.; Hillsboro and Drayton, N.D.; and packaging and transportation sites in Chaska, Minn. and Mason City, Iowa.

Tags: