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Published December 12, 2011, 05:17 PM

Dayton 'Ready and Willing' to Resume American Crystal Lockout Talks

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - American Crystal Sugar and the union representing its locked-out workers declined to comment Monday on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's request that they begin a marathon negotiations session Tuesday.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - American Crystal Sugar and the union representing its locked-out workers declined to comment Monday on Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton's request that they begin a marathon negotiation session Tuesday.

A Dayton representative said the governor is "ready and willing to go to Moorhead whenever both sides agree to his presence there." The representative said that Dayton was asked by "federal officials" to withhold comment.

Last week Dayton said he could be in Moorhead to help initiate the talks on Tuesday.

The union responded then, saying they would be prepared to talk on the 13th.

Dayton put into writing his proposal to restart contract talks in the American Crystal Sugar labor dispute.

“The purpose of this letter is to ask you to reaffirm your verbal agreement, made to me last Saturday, to resume your contract negotiations at the earliest practical date and to continue them without interruption until an agreement is reached,” Dayton wrote in a letter sent to union leader Mark Froemke and to David Berg, president and CEO of American Crystal.

Dayton suggested Tuesday as the start date for renewed negotiations, which he envisions occurring every day and night, starting at 9 a.m. and going until midnight, until an agreement is reached.

North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple, in response to Dayton’s plan and whether he would join in such a proposal, said last week that a professional mediator, approved by both sides, would likely provide the best chances for resolving the dispute.

About 1,300 union workers were locked out of American Crystal’s five production plants on Aug. 1, after workers voted down a proposed five-year contract.

Some information from the Associated Press

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