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Published March 14, 2012, 04:00 PM

Locked-Out Workers Picket Outside International Sugar Beet Show

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers are taking advantage of a sugar beet show at the Alerus Center to try and get back to the negotiating table with the company.

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - Locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers are taking advantage of a sugar beet show at the Alerus Center to try and get back to the negotiating table with the company.

More than 40 locked-out workers from up and down the Red River Valley came together to bring about awareness and try and talk to farmers.

With each sign, each step, and each wave, they hope they are one step closer to negotiations.

"Time's running out I guess, the sugar program is coming up, the farm bill's coming up, it's sort of on fast track the way it sounds," locked-out worker Scott Ripplinger said.

Workers are picketing outside the 50th International Sugarbeet Institute event to, in part, let people know they are not lobbying against the sugar program.

"You know there's been some talk of us going against the sugar program, that's not the case. We are not lobbying against the sugar program and if we had our jobs and we weren't fighting to keep our jobs we would have time to lobby in favor of the sugar program," Ripplinger said.

After more than seven months of a lock-out, many of the workers say they will picket as long as it takes.

But some are trying to move on at the same time.

"I'm looking to go to school and kind of moving forward with my life a little bit," locked-out worker Deb Hegg.

"It's been a lot of sleepless nights wondering what the future might hold and where you're going to end up. I'm enrolled in college classes and taking those this winter," locked-out worker Dave Wasylow said.

Locked out workers still want to get back to the negotiating table and hope their efforts will pay off.

"Are they waiting for us to invite them or them invite us. I don't know but I do know this, nothing is going to be resolved unless you sit down at the table and talk," Wasylow said.

Workers say with the warmer temperatures, picketers will be out in full force.

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