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Published October 25, 2011, 02:59 PM

Renewed Negotiations in American Crystal Lockout Inspire Little Hope

Renewed attempts to settle the impasse between American Crystal Sugar Co. and 1,300 union workers seemed to make little progress today, despite new counteroffers by both sides.

By: Forum Communications, WDAZ

Renewed attempts to settle the impasse between American Crystal Sugar Co. and 1,300 union workers seemed to make little progress today, despite new counteroffers by both sides.

Representatives from the company and the union met at an undisclosed location today to resume negotiations with the help of federal mediators.

American Crystal executives extended an amended contract offer to locked-out union workers, but union representatives said the offer signals the company is committed only to continuing the lockout.

“However, we are union and democratic. We owe our members an opportunity to vote on whether to accept or reject this contract," union President John Riskey said in a written statement this afternoon. “We will be informing our members shortly on when that vote will take place."

Brian Ingulsrud, vice president of administration for American Crystal, said in a written statement that the company approached new talks this week with high hopes, but he said the union’s latest offer failed to “adequately address the issues identified by both parties a as being the keys to reaching an agreement.”

Details of the amended offer can be found on www.acsccontracttalks.com.

About 1,300 workers represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union have been locked out of American Crystal Sugar since the contract impasse began Aug. 1.

American Crystal’s previous offer was a 17-percent pay increase over five years, but workers rejected it over job security provisions, health care costs and language in the contract they say will hurt workers in future years.

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