NLRB sides with American Crystal over union complaint

Replacement workers
A van containing replacement workers enters an American Crystal Sugar Co. processing plant in north Moorhead on Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011. The company has contracted with Minnetonka, Minn.-based Strom Engineering to provide replacement workers.
MPR File Photo/Ann Arbor Miller

The National Labor Relations Board ruled Wednesday in favor of American Crystal Sugar in a dispute with workers who have been locked out since August 1.

The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union charged American Crystal failed to negotiate in good faith.

The NLRB said there's no evidence to support the charge, adding that American Crystal's last two proposals before the lockout contained significant movement while the union made few concessions and no counteroffer.

Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 167 President John Riskey said the union will appeal the NLRB's ruling.

Union spokesman Mark Froemke said he wasn't surprised by the ruling and that there's been no move to resume contract talks.

"We surely hope as the union that American Crystal and us could get back to the table," he said. "That's what we're strived for since the first of May when we started the negotiation process."

American Crystal spokesman Brian Ingulsrud said the NLRB ruling proves the company has been willing to negotiate.