WDAY.com

WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published August 01, 2011, 05:01 PM

American Crystal Begins Lockout, Employees Picket

American Crystal Sugar Company's union employees have been told by management they are not allowed on the property. Workers voted against a contract offer on Saturday.

American Crystal Sugar Company's union employees have been told by management they are not allowed on the property. Workers voted against a contract offer on Saturday.

At 11:45 p.m. Sunday, people were being escorted off the property and by midnight, all union workers on the shift, and others, were on the outside looking in.

No talks were held Sunday between American Crystal and the union, but a line had been drawn and guards were in place Sunday night and again Monday, keeping workers from entering the plant.

Workers were told they were to be addressed at 7 a.m. Monday morning about the lockout, but only one phone call was made to local union president John Riskey letting the union know they were not allowed on the property.

"We're not asking for much. We're asking for a contract that doesn't put our jobs in jeopardy, we're asking to continue health coverage that won't put our families in financial ruin. If someone gets sick or injured, we're asking to continue our short-term disability coverage that we've been paying for, for nearly 30 years," union worker Melvin Morris said.

People on the afternoon shifts were expected to report to work and that as long as there is no contract, workers will continue to picket.

Since May 6, the company has had 15 negotiation sessions with the union.

It's important to remember that the workers are not on strike. They say they want to work, but the company is, in their opinion, what is standing in the way.

Tags: