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Published December 02, 2011, 06:12 PM

Union Members Keeping Quiet On Lockout

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is traveling to Moorhead, Minn. Saturday to meet with American Crystal Sugar executives. He will also attend a meeting organized by locked-out union workers.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton is traveling to Moorhead, Minn. Saturday to meet with American Crystal Sugar executives. He will also attend a meeting organized by locked-out union workers.

Saturday will be a chance for workers up and down the Red River Valley to share their stories on the lockout. But lately, local union workers have grown more skeptical of the company they once worker for.

The usually vocal picket line has turned quiet because of fear that the company is listening.

"There is a clause in there for eligibility on who would be eligible to come to work and people are thinking, you know, what in the world is going on," BCTGM Local 167G President John Riskey said.

That language added in the second round of contract negotiations has some workers worried. They're unsure of what qualifies them as "eligible."

"We did sit down at the table and ask them about it. They never really gave us a definite answer. And working with this company through this negotiation, we just got to expect the worst that it could be," Riskey said.

But Saturday will be a chance for union members to voice their concerns to Governor Dayton.

"Have our people there to let them know, and let the community know and the people that are there how this is affecting our people, how it is affecting the community," Riskey added.

American Crystal Sugar has been a part of Riskey's family for a long time.

"My dad worked at Crystal Sugar. He started when I was four years-old," Riskey added.

He says he never imagined the company his father worked for would keep him out of a job for more than four months.

"The day that they locked the gates, I was in Drayton. And I just was thinking about my dad. See, my dad passed away and I just didn't understand it," Riskey said.

The affects of the lockout are being felt up and down the Valley. Riskey hopes Saturday's forum will be a step in the right direction.

"We will help let people open their minds up to see whats going on there. Im sure there's a lot of people that understand it's going on, but I don't really know if they see the true effects of what's going on," Riskey said.

A bus will be picking up union members in Drayton, East Grand Forks and Hillsboro for the event. Riskey expects over 100 people to attend.

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