Sugar workers reject contract offer again | Minnesota Public Radio News

Sugar workers reject contract offer again

by Dan Gunderson, Minnesota Public Radio

June 23, 2012

In a file photo, locked-out American Crystal union members gather for a rally June 6, 2012, in the Moorhead Center Mall parking lot across from American Crystal headquarters in Moorhead, Minn. The contract dispute has lingered since American Crystal locked out about 1,300 union workers on Aug. 1 at sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The two sides have not met since February. (AP Photo/The Forum, David Samson)

Hundreds of locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers have rejected a contract offer for the third time.

In two previous votes more than 90 percent of union workers said no to American Crystal’s final contract offer. This time the margin was closer. Union officials say 63 percent of workers who voted turned down the contract.

Becki Jacobson of Moorhead voted no.

Jacobson just finished a computer training class and is actively looking for a new job.

“If I get a decent job offer I’ll probably walk away,” Jacobson says. “I won’t quit. If this lockout drags on for who knows how long, if they ever come back with a decent offer maybe I will go back. I don’t know. Time will tell.”

Jacobson says she still hopes that farmers who own American Crystal will pressure management to offer a more acceptable contract.

Workers are unhappy with a proposed loss of job security and higher cost for health care coverage.

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