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Dave Olson, Published April 01 2013

Locked-out American Crystal union sets its fifth vote on contract

HILLSBORO, N.D. – Locked-out American Crystal Sugar union workers will hold a fifth vote on the company’s last contract offer on April 13, according to Gayln Olson, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Local 372G in Hillsboro.

The union’s last vote on the contract was in December, when 55 percent of union workers voted to reject the contract, down from 63 percent that opposed the same offer in June.

Ninety-six percent of the locked-out workers rejected the offer in July 2011 and 90 percent rejected it three months later.

About 1,300 American Crystal workers were locked out in August 2011 following the rejection of the company’s contract offer that July.

American Crystal officials have said the contract offer would be their final one and that the contract would raise worker pay by 17 percent over five years.

Union leaders have said the contract would dismantle worker health coverage and compromise safety and product quality.