Union leaders request meeting with sugar company

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American Crystal Sugar Co. workers
More than 100 people rally in the North Dakota Capitol's Memorial Hall in Bismarck, N.D., on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2011, to support American Crystal Sugar Co. workers, who have been locked out of the company's sugar beet processing plants since Aug. 1. The crowd was supporting legislation that would allow the locked-out workers to receive unemployment benefits.
AP Photo/Dale Wetzel

Union leaders for locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers say they have asked a federal mediator to lead another round of negotiations with the company.

About 1,300 workers at Crystal plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa have been locked out since Aug. 1 because of a contract dispute. The company is using replacement workers.

Union spokesman John Riskey said in a statement released Wednesday that "it's time to get back to the table and end the lockout."

Crystal Sugar vice president Brian Ingulsrud told The Associated Press Wednesday that he has yet to hear from the mediator, but said the company has been willing to negotiate with the union.

It would be the third negotiating session since the start of the lockout. (Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)