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Published September 08 2012

Forum editorial: A stupid stunt by AFL-CIO

While we understand the frustration locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. union workers feel, their recent tactic to picket the homes of the company’s directors is offensive and ultimately unproductive.

An AFL-CIO leader said last week he was in the Red River Valley to help coordinate the demonstrations in front of company directors’ homes in residential neighborhoods of Crookston, Ada and East Grand Forks in Minnesota, and Drayton and Minto in North Dakota, where directors’ families live. It’s a bad idea, one which we suspect (we hope) was not an initiative of local union members.

Last week’s picketing also came at a time when local union leaders had suggested there was movement, however slight, toward a settlement the union and company could live with. Why would union leaders undermine that possibility with a stunt apparently designed to embarrass and/or anger company directors and their families?

For the most part, local union members and leaders have conducted themselves as honorably as possible, given the circumstances of the lockout. But when they succumb to imported AFL-CIO tactics, they are not doing the local labor cause any good. The regional and national union’s agenda seems to be to make some sort of statement by picketing directors’ homes. It’s a stupid ploy that will do nothing to end the lockout and might even extend it.

Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.