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Jim Geyer, Published December 04 2011

American Crystal Sugar moving from a sweet to a sour company

The American Crystal Sugar lockout has been fascinating to follow – even for someone who buys maybe five pounds of sugar a year.

In the past, American Crystal was a sweet deal for all involved. The workers were well paid and happy to see the executives and growers do well. CEO David Berg will make nearly

$2.5 million this year. Several other executives will receive nearly

$1 million each. The growers expect a record payment of $796 million.

Four months into a company lockout of the union workers, it has to be clear to everyone that American Crystal wants to break the union. Berg considers the union contract a “cancer.” If he can get rid of the contract, of course he won’t care if there is a union. It will be powerless. If the company is successful, some consequences are obvious: