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Christopher Bjorke, Forum Communications, Published November 24 2012

Union confirms workers to vote on contract

GRAND FORKS – The locked-out workers of American Crystal Sugar will vote on the company’s contract offer Dec. 1, said a union official.

John Riskey, president of Local 167G of the Bakery Workers union representing employees at Crystal plants in East Grand Forks, Minn., Moorhead and Drayton, N.D., said the vote would include workers at Crystal’s five factories in Minnesota and North Dakota along with members in Iowa.

The company earlier announced on its website that union members had met with management Nov. 15 and the company expected a contract vote. Riskey confirmed the statement Friday.

About 1,300 workers were locked out by management Aug. 1, 2011, after members rejected their contract offer. Workers also rejected the contract in two later votes.

Union officials said 82 percent of their members participated in the last vote in June. Riskey said he did not know how many were likely to vote next week.

He declined to comment on discussions during the union’s last meeting with management.

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