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Scott Ripplinger, Published February 15 2012

Berg, company started the war

Dave Berg and American Crystal Sugar started this war. They locked out the union rather than negotiate a fair contract. The previous contract did nothing but set production and profit records with the union employees. Then Berg says they can’t be competitive with the union contract. They expect us to support a sugar program so we can keep our jobs that they locked us out of.

They have no intention of negotiating a fair contract and have made it clear that the only solution is to accept their proposals. Those proposals would ensure none of us have a decent job unless we are willing to kiss their “boots.”

Now other people want to vilify us for not supporting a sugar program to make the company executives and farmers rich without helping the workers.

Many of my union brothers and sisters and I went to Washington, D.C., to lobby for the last sugar program. We were widely credited with switching enough votes to ensure the passage of the program. I am pretty certain we can work just as hard to ensure defeat of the program, although at this point we are not doing so. It is now up to the grower/owners of the company to decide which way they want us to lobby. Ending the lockout and negotiating a fair contract is one way we might be able to work together again to fight for passage of the sugar program.

So to recap: We are expected to accept their proposals without negotiating, kiss their boots to keep our jobs, lobby Congress to pass the sugar program so we can continue to kiss their boots and keep our jobs.

I hope everyone can understand why we feel this way because, as they say, “I can explain it for you, but I can’t understand it for you.”