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Associated Press, Published August 13 2012

ND high court to rule on jobless benefits for locked out American Crystal workers

BISMARCK — North Dakota's Supreme Court will be deciding whether locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. should collect unemployment benefits.

A group of more than 200 Crystal workers is appealing a judge's decision that North Dakota law doesn't allow them to get benefits.

The Supreme Court has scheduled arguments in the case on Sept. 18.

State law says North Dakota workers can't get unemployment money if they're involved in a labor dispute. But an attorney for the Crystal employees says the law refers to strikes, not a lockout.

American Crystal employees have been locked out of company factories in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa for a year. Locked-out workers in Minnesota and Iowa were eligible for unemployment.

Court filings say the North Dakota Supreme Court has never ruled on the issue.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.