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Kari Sorenson, Published December 13 2011

How does Crystal ‘invest in valley’?

Invest in your valley! A popular and catchy commercial viewed on local television stations throughout the region. Its goal, I suppose, is to promote economic development and to show the pride that residents have in their communities. I’ll have to admit that it makes me want to help make my community a better place to live.

What about you? Does this statement (request) make you feel like you want to take an interest in the well-being of your neighbors? At a time when community leaders ask this of you, one company, American Crystal Sugar, has shrugged their responsibilities and has done just the opposite by locking out 1,300 loyal and hard-working employees – employees that have invested in their valley.

Now four months later, sides have been taken, ultimatums given and gag orders placed. It has become a propaganda war. Most, if not all of you, think this is old news and just want it over.

But before this is ended, know this: The average Joe might not think this labor dispute affects them, but I would disagree. It is a proven fact that there is a direct correlation between labor unions and middle-class income. No matter how you feel about unions, they were formed to protect the working class.

Dave Berg, the management and the board of directors of American Crystal Sugar have it within their rights to run their company as they see fit, no matter how asinine and unethical that may seem to the rest of us.

Winston Churchill once said, “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something in your life.” So the next time you cross that picket line or condemn those union thugs, you might want to ask yourself: How have I helped to end this labor dispute and make my community a better place to live? Will you invest in your valley?