American Crystal Sugar harms company, local economies, with ill-conceived lockout

This August, American Crystal Sugar locked out over 1,300 workers in Iowa, Minnesota, and North Dakota. As worker Cindy Kolling explained in Ag Week, American Crystal’s actions have been motivated by a desire to break the employees’ union. To avoid providing workers with a fair deal, the company has risked this year’s harvest by bringing in unskilled replacement workers to perform the complicated tasks required to turn sugar beets into sugar.

Safety has also been a concern. From the beginning, American Crystal’s locked-out workers, who are represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM), have warned that untrained and inexperienced workers were putting themselves and others at risk. Unfortunately, those concerns were realized last week, as fires broke out at two American Crystal facilities. As BCTGM Local 167G President John Riskey stated, “By using poorly trained replacement workers from outside the region, American Crystal Sugar is gambling both with safety and the economic success of this year’s harvest.”

American Crystal’s destructive lockout is not only hurting the company, it’s also harming the local communities that depend on consumer spending from the plant’s employees to power their economies.

But the locked-out workers are fighting back. Blending time-tested methods with 21st century technology, BCTGM workers are distributing fliers with a QR (Quick Response) code at stores and events (including the Minnesota Vikings home opener) in eight states from North Dakota to Texas. The QR code (similar to a barcode) can be scanned easily by a smartphone, directing the user to the campaign website, where more information on the lockout and American Crystal’s harmful policies is available. The activated QR code will also allow the viewer to watch the campaign video, which explains how American Crystal Sugar is killing the American Dream.

The latest technology plus the determination and unity of the locked-out workers? Sounds like a winning recipe to us.

To show your support for the locked-out workers at American Crystal Sugar, click here.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 at 10:48 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

7 Responses to “American Crystal Sugar harms company, local economies, with ill-conceived lockout”

  1. Jesse Sorum says:

    There is a miss print in your article. When you quote the BCTGM Vice President you have the wrong name for this individual. Brian Ingulsrud is a Vice President for American Crystal Sugar not the BCTGM.

  2. Tired Of This...BS! says:

    I understand your “reasoning” for the strike. I just feel it is long past due to be resolved. You now look like a bunch of tantrum throwers because your not getting your way. There are no efforts to even meet!!!! How do you expect it to get resolved if you can’t even set at the negotiation table?
    I am a family member of one of the temporary workers that is having to go and do your job. Unwillingly! We are located in another state and have to be flown in to take care of a job that you could be doing! Do you realize the inconvenience it is causing our families and our lives as we know it?
    Our lives are being disheveled for weeks at a time if not months now!
    Get yourselves to the table! For your own financial sakes…get back to work. While your back working…look for another job elsewhere. At least you’ll be able to support your families in the meantime and quit screwing up the lives of those having to cover your jobs!!!!

  3. Will McDonald says:


    Thanks for the heads up!

  4. Will McDonald says:


    This is not a strike, it is a lockout.

  5. Tired Of This...BS! says:

    If you agree with the company’s terms…you would go back to work.
    Therefore, letting “us” continue on with our own lives and deal with our own work issues that we have to deal with from day to day. Strike…lockout…same BS! Accept it…so we ALL can get back to our own lives and issues at hand. Again…while your receiving your paychecks…look for another job if your not happy there.

    a lockout occurs when union membership rejects the company’s final offer at negotiations and offers to return to work under the same conditions of employment as existed under the now-expired contract. In such a case, the lockout is designed to pressure the workers into accepting the terms of the company’s last offer.

  6. metaphysical says:


    [...]American Crystal Sugar harms company, local economies, with ill-conceived lockout « American Rights at Work's Blog at Work[...]…

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