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Associated Press, Published June 22 2012

Locked-out union workers consider Crystal contract

FARGO — Union workers locked out for nearly a year at American Crystal Sugar Co. are planning another vote on the company's contract offer.

The workers have rejected the contract twice previously by overwhelming margins. The union is particularly upset about provisions regarding seniority and job security. The company says it's a good contract with substantial increases in wages and other benefits.

The vote is scheduled Saturday.

Experts say lockouts have become popular — and successful — among employers throughout the country.

American Crystal kicked out about 1,300 employees on Aug. 1 in what one vice president called a proactive move to avoid a strike and keep the plants running with replacement workers.

American Crystal is the largest sugar beet processor in the country, with plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.

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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.