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Published January 07, 2014, 08:07 PM

Top exec, lockout negotiator for American Crystal resigns

Joe Talley, chief operating officer at American Crystal Sugar Co. and a central figure in the negotiations surrounding a company lockout of union workers, has resigned his position at the company effective Jan. 17.

By: Dave Olson, Forum News Service

MOORHEAD, Minn. – Joe Talley, chief operating officer at American Crystal Sugar Co. and a central figure in the negotiations surrounding a company lockout of union workers, has resigned his position at the company effective Jan. 17.

A message left for Talley on Tuesday afternoon was not immediately returned.

The company acknowledged Talley’s resignation in a brief written statement that read in part:

“Talley has served American Crystal extremely well for the nearly 20 years that he has worked for the company. American Crystal wishes him well in his future pursuits.”

A company spokesman said American Crystal had no further comment because Talley’s resignation was a personnel matter.

Talley was American Crystal’s top negotiator during a lockout of union members that lasted from August 2011 until May 2013.

Messages left with union officials seeking comment on Talley’s resignation were not returned Tuesday.

The Moorhead-based sugar processing company announced late last year that its payment to growers was $38 per ton for the 2013 crop, down from about $68 per ton for the previous year’s crop. A company official said growers stand to lose hundreds of dollars per acre on the 2013 crop.

Talley graduated from Moorhead High School and later earned a degree in accounting at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. He spent about a dozen years with a public accounting firm in Fargo before going to work for American Crystal in the mid-1990s.

Before becoming COO, Talley held a number of positions at the company, including the jobs of treasurer, finance director and vice president of finance.

Papers the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for fiscal year 2012 indicate Talley’s total compensation was $641,643.

According to a story in The Forum in October 2011, Talley’s total income from American Crystal in 2007 was $605,520. In 2008 it was $637,989; in 2009 it was $780,039; and in 2010 it was $908,586.

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