Adding up the cost of lost wages for locked out ACS workersMoorhead, MN (WDAY TV) - We are approaching day 80 in the American Crystal Sugar Lockout. More than two-and-a-half months that 1,300 workers have been unemployed. But just exactly how much money have they lost so far?
We are approaching day 80 in the American Crystal Sugar Lockout. More than two-and-a-half months that 1,300 workers have been unemployed. But just exactly how much money have they lost so far?
The numbers are staggering. Locked out employees are losing $136 a day in benefits and wages; some collecting unemployment, others not. But for the locked out workers picketing outside of American Crystal, they say this isn't about the money, and never has been.
Larry Ferrie is putting two kids through college. His unemployment check is about $400 a week - less than half of what he made while at work.
Larry Ferrie – Locked Out Worker: “You have to dip into savings, you have to make changes, live by the means that you can.”
According to American Crystal, the average locked out employee made $50,000 a year in benefits and wages. In 78 days that's $10,684 in lost wages.
Larry Ferrie: “For us it's not about the money, it's about the language of the contract. We never had a problem with the money.”
With 1,300 locked out employees. It equals to nearly $13.9 million in lost wages. The contract union workers turned down also included a 4% pay bump, so that number would now be well over $14 million. Both Ferry and Jobgen have been at the company for more than 35-years. They said it's been a great place to work, and they want to keep it that way for the next generation.
Bob Jobgen – Locked Out Worker: “The younger worker that has young children and is just starting out. Maybe he likes to have job security and some of the benefits that I've enjoyed.”
Both sides will go back to the negotiating table next Monday hoping to finally find some middle ground. But, both sides told me they are cautiously optimistic.