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Linda Davidson, Published January 14 2012

It’s cane sugar for me

Today was a really sad day for me. I purchased my first bag of cane sugar. I wanted to make sure I bought sugar that was not processed by American Crystal. I have always bought Crystal sugar (for 30-plus years), even when other brands were cheaper, because of my father’s loyalty to the company.

I have sat for months trying not to get upset, but enough is enough. My father worked for the factory for years and was one of their most loyal, hardworking employees. Many have said that he had the dirtiest job out there, and he always came home stinking to high heaven, yet I never heard him complain. He was never late for work and worked every holiday he could. He even tried to persuade his eight children to apply, not to mention all of the tours of the factory I received as a child. That is how much of his life he devoted to the company. I remember as a young girl the company picnics we attended.

Well, 30 years ago, the company pulled something similar to what is happening now, and my father was one or two years from retirement. He almost lost some of his retirement benefits, but as he said, “If it wouldn’t have been for the union, we wouldn’t have gotten them back.” Even through that situation, his devotion and loyalty to the company never ceased.

Now 30 years later, one of his children, who did apply, finds himself in the same situation. My brother is one year from retirement. He also has been a loyal employee, working holidays, etc. I have relatives who have worked for Crystal for more than 30 years and were devoted and loyal workers.

Just what is wrong here? Don’t you people care about your employees? I read in The Forum how much top executives make, and you can’t afford to pay these workers their benefits? You say that insurance is the main problem. Well, have you given up any of your pay, benefits, etc? Don’t you realize that it was these loyal, hardworking folks who provided you with your megapay? How can you sleep at night knowing that these workers are having a hard time making ends meet? What about when they went to bat for you and your company when needed? Did this not count for anything?

I am glad I never listened to my dad and did not apply. I miss my father (he passed away last July), but I am so glad he doesn’t have to see what is happening to the company he was so proud of.

As for my family, I have asked them not to apply for jobs with Crystal or any other company Crystal is a part of, along with not supporting them by purchasing their products.

P.S. The cane sugar is pretty good.