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Published August 09, 2011, 03:57 PM

Frustration Mounts as American Crystal Lockout Continues

As the American Crystal Sugar lockout continues, frustration mounts as a contract deal has yet to be made. Workers continue to picket and the company sits silent, planning the next move.

As the American Crystal Sugar lockout continues, frustration mounts as a contract deal has yet to be made.

Workers continue to picket and the company sits silent, planning the next move.

As the days go by, several new issues are causing frustration amongst workers who are locked out of plants up and down the Valley.

"They don't want to come to the table. We don't really care for the half truth that the company is trying to sway the court of public opinion," union steward Lee Christensen said.

It's the rumors of breaking of the union have have some concerned.

"If we allowed the contract to go through the way the company presented it to us, you could just as well because what they were doing was totally throwing away our collective bargaining agreement and it would basically be going to a gun fight with a butter knife," Christensen said.

Last week, workers got their last check from the company before they were locked out. Now, due to a law in the state century code, those workers from North Dakota may not be eligible for an unemployment check at all.

"We have got determinations of what we would make if we were able to get unemployment but none of us are very hopeful," Christensen said.

And after a molasses car derailed last weekend, workers say they're starting to question how long the replacement workers were actually trained.

"I've worked here for 34 years and I've never seen a molasses tanker get rolled on its side. So it's quite ironic that seven days into this lockout with these new replacement workers, that they have a $75,000 car laying on its side," Christensen said.

Workers say the company continues to be silent, so they'll play the waiting game until someone makes the first move.

Union members say they offered the company what they thought was a fair deal of a three-year contract with a total of a 10 percent wage increase as long as the wording of the previous contract stayed the same. That offer was rejected by American Crystal.

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