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Published September 29, 2011, 05:34 PM

AFL-CIO Rallies For Jobs in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The state AFL-CIO kicked off its North Dakota convention Thursday amidst controversy at American Crystal Sugar and pending change for the post office.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - The state AFL-CIO kicked off its North Dakota convention Thursday amidst controversy at American Crystal Sugar and pending change for the post office.

Workers from throughout North Dakota rallied for good jobs in their communities.

Those present at the rally called for an end to the American Crystal Sugar Lockout and asked congress to take action for better jobs.

"If we don't stick together to try and hold our ground, it's going to be a race to the bottom," union representative Mark Froemke said.

A call was made on Thursday by union members across North Dakota to elected officials and business leaders to work together to support good jobs in North Dakota and across the country.

It was a call to keep jobs on American soil.

"Companies have become transnational. They've put all their money overseas and come back here and protect themselves by that they help write and pass that protect them from workers and society from our communities and destroy the middle class in the mean time," North Dakota AFL-CIO president David Kemnitz said.

Delegates and local activists urged Congress to pass the legislation that would fix the issues facing the United State Postal Service without slashing good jobs and to pass the American Jobs Act, all while more than 1,300 workers in another union are locked out of the company many have spent their entire lives with.

"And those families, those workers and their families are part of a community, part of an economic and social environment that have been destroyed by a company thats gone rogue," Kemnitz said.

Although some believe unions are a thing of the past, those at Thursday's rally believe that union trains some of the greatest workers and they'll continue the solidarity that has been a tradition for so long.

"Somewhere you've got to make a stand for what's right and move the issue in the correct way so all those Americans, union and non-union, can have a decent standard of living, can have health care, can send their children to school and retire with some dignity. That's the goal we had 100 years ago in Grand Forks when the AFL was created here and that's our goal 100 years later," Froemke said.

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