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Scott Ripplinger, Manvel, N.D., Published April 11 2012

Crystal growers on the short end

In light of the recent news about the increase in the Minn-Dak beet payment, I wonder if the Crystal Sugar growers are now questioning this lockout by their management. Minn-Dak has announced a payment of $72.72 per ton compared to the Crystal payment of $59 per ton. The Crystal payment is traditionally more than the Minn-Dak payment.

If a grower had a 25-ton- per-acre yield on 1,000 acres, the difference would mean a loss of $343,000. On a 20-ton yield, the difference would be a loss of $274,400. This translates to a cost so far for the lockout at $132.81 million with a 22-ton yield on 440,000 acres.

The growers need to determine if this is really in their best interests and the interests of their company. These are costs that will never be recovered due to the fact that the biggest holdups in the contract negotiations are non-monetary issues. Most of the issues are contract language changes that would strip the workers of any control over their careers and give that control to the company. These changes will have almost no effect on their bottom line.

Crystal Sugar growers, you need to ask Dave Berg and Joe Talley how they plan to recover your losses. Ask them how things will ever get better with the turnover rate of the replacement workers. We, the union workers, hope you will hold your management team accountable, just as we have always been held accountable by them.