The North Dakota AFL-CIO is calling out the hypocrisy of legislative Republicans and asking the state's residents to demand that Gov. Jack Dalrymple (R) veto a bill that would deny locked-out workers unemployment benefits. According to an action alert sent out by the state federation, extreme right-wing Republicans in the legislature have voted to both deny locked-out workers unemployment benefits and to give themselves pay raises and more benefits.
Locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar plants in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa will soon be returning to work after they ratified a contract late last week. The company locked out 1,300 workers, members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), in August 2011.
At a time when it seems nearly every state legislature is assaulting the rights of working families, Minnesota's House and Senate are bucking the trend and are likely to soon send Gov. Mark Dayton a series of strong pro-working family bills. According to Minnesota AFL-CIO Communications Director Chris Shields, this is the first time in 20 years the state government has been unified under one-party control, with the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party holding the governorship and the majority in both houses of the legislature.
A replacement worker at American Crystal Sugar Co.’s East Grand Forks, Minn., plant was seriously injured last month, suffering severe burns when he was hit with hot liquid that spewed from a tank, according to news reports.
The company has been operating with replacement workers since it locked out its highly trained 1,300 member workforce in August 2011. The locked-out workers are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) and worked at plants in Iowa, Minnesota and North Dakota.
It could have been a pretty bleak and hungry holiday season for the families of the 1,300 American Crystal Sugar workers who have been locked out of their jobs since August 2011. But thanks to the combined efforts of the unions of the St. Paul (Minn.) Regional Labor Federation and the American Income Life Insurance Co., there’ll be presents under the trees and food in the pantries.
More than 1,300 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa have been locked out by American Crystal Sugar for more than a year and a half. These working families are being denied incomes and health care benefits.
In cities across the country this holiday season, theaters will be packed for performances of the Christmas classic ballet, the "Nutcracker Suite"—in many cases performed by dancers of the Musical Artists (AGMA). Symphony halls will be full as orchestra musicians—many who are members of American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada (AFM)—fill the air with holiday-themed concerts.
But in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minn., the home concert halls of Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra will be dark.
Locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers tried to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures urging a resumption of talks to end the 17-month lockout of some 1,300 workers to company executives, shareholders and growers at the firm’s shareholder meeting in Fargo, N.D., Thursday morning. But in a similar response to CEO Dave Berg’s refusal to bargain for a fair contract, Berg and other top company officials refused to meet with the workers.
For the fourth time, locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers rejected an identical contract offer from the management company. The workers are members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM).