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Showing blog posts tagged with sugar beet

Support, Solidarity for Crystal Sugar Workers

Pickets at the Drayton plant.

When Susan dePasquale, a former AFSCME member in Cleveland, heard that 1,300 workers at American Crystal Sugar had been locked out from their jobs for more than a year, she immediately volunteered her support.

I was just very moved by what I heard…I wanted to do something. Instead of sending well wishes, I thought I’d write a check.

Help locked-out American Crystal workers. Please donate to the BCTGM Lockout Action Fund, care of  the Minnesota AFL-CIO, 175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103.

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Crystal Sugar Shareholders Paid 25% Less Since Lockout

When American Crystal Sugar Co. locked out 1,300 workers from five plants in August 2011 because they wouldn't accept a contract that included significant increases to their health care costs and major changes to job security, the company replaced the highly skilled workers (click to enlarge image).

As a result, productivity has plummeted and American Crystal shareholders are losing money. Another sugar beet processing company, Minn-Dak, paid its shareholders roughly the same in 2010 as did American Crystal. But when replacement workers stepped in, American Crystal Sugar's shareholders received $59 a ton—and Minn-Dak's got an estimated $75.05. That's 25 percent less for American Crystal shareholders in fiscal 2011.

Two words describe such management: Really dumb.

Tell American Crystal CEO Dave Berg to stop wasting shareholders’ money and go back to the bargaining table.

Help locked-out American Crystal workers. Please donate to the BCTGM Lockout Action Fund, care of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, 175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103.

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We Gave 110% for Crystal Sugar

Former American Crystal Sugar retirees support locked out workers.

Despite waking up with the flu one morning this week, Bonnie Holter headed out to take part in a 6 a.m. vigil outside the home of a member of the American Crystal Sugar Co. board of directors in East Grand Forks, Minn. Tired and ready to head back to bed after returning home, she still exuded the resolve that, despite having retired from American Crystal Sugar this year, propels her to actively back the 1,300 locked-out workers.

“It’s important to support the workers,” says Holter, 60. “They were our family. I was proud to be a union member and I still want to help the union out.”

Holter and her husband, Jerome, who most people call Jay, spent decades working for the sugar beet processing company before management locked out workers in August 2011.

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Crystal Sugar Workers Appeal to Shareholders, Neighbor to Neighbor

Sugar Neighbor 2

This is a cross-post from Crystal Greed, the blog for workers locked out of their jobs at American Crystal Sugar plants in Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota.

Beet growers who own Crystal Sugar—the cooperative that’s been locking 1,300 workers out of their jobs for the past 13 months—haven’t had to walk through a picket line on their way to work each day.

Until now.

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Crystal Sugar Shareholders Losing Lots of $$ from Yearlong Lockout

Locking out workers is costing American Crystal Sugar Co. shareholders lots of money.

In the first nine months of fiscal year 2011—the period immediately preceding American Crystal Sugar’s lockout of 1,300 employees—American Crystal’s production costs were $382 million (click on graphic
to expand).

The production costs for the first nine months of this fiscal year shot up $90 million to $471 million. That’s more than a 23 percent increase. During the same period, another sugar beet cooperative, Minn-Dak, saw its costs decrease, dropping 16 percent.

Tell American Crystal CEO Dave Berg to stop wasting shareholder’s money and go back to the bargaining table.

Now.

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Crystal Sugar Workers Offer Company 'Ready to Work' Plan

When a company locks out skilled employees and replaces its entire workforce with inexperienced new hires, here’s what happens: productivity plunges and profits tank.

Losing money is not a wise corporate strategy. Yet, unless American Crystal Sugar Co. agrees to return to contract negotiations with the 1,300 workers the company locked out a year ago, the company is on course to repeat its sorry fiscal 2012 performance. After the company replaced all its seasoned employees, production costs increased by 23 percent and payments to its shareholders lagged behind the rest of the industry, which saw their shareholder payments increase. That followed a year in which Crystal Sugar was hugely profitable, with $1.5 billion in net earnings.

(Sign a petition calling on American Crystal Sugar CEO Dave Berg to treat workers fairly and return to the bargaining table.)

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Locked-Out Crystal Sugar Worker: 'We Didn't Do Anything to Deserve This'

Locked-Out Crystal Sugar Worker: 'We Didn't Do Anything to Deserve This'

Michael Frank headed over to a rally in East Grand Forks, Minn., last night, one of many he’s taken part in over the past year. Frank, along with 1,300 other workers, was locked out of the American Crystal Sugar factory a year ago, and last night’s event was part of the workers’ ongoing efforts to urge the sugar beet processing company return to the bargaining table.

“They don’t want to sit down with us,” said Frank, a 33-year veteran with with company and currently day warehouse foreman. “We didn’t do anything to deserve this.”

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Stand with Sugar Workers!

This is a cross-post  by AFL-CIO Community Services Director Will Fisher.

For generations, the sugar beet industry has been the lifeblood of northwest Minnesota’s Red River Valley.

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