Union workers rally outside Crystal HQ

American Crystal rally
Locked-out American Crystal union members gather for a rally Wednesday, June 6, 2012, in the Moorhead Center Mall parking lot across from American Crystal headquarters in Moorhead, Minn. The contract dispute has lingered for 10 months, since American Crystal last Aug. 1 locked out about 1,300 union workers 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

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) -- Locked-out American Crystal Sugar factory workers have completed a 200-mile journey by foot and hay wagon in advance of an expected Friday meeting between union officials and company representatives.

The union workers began the trek May 31 from the northeastern North Dakota city of Drayton to draw attention to their cause. They held a rally outside company headquarters in Moorhead, Minn., on Thursday.

The contract dispute has lingered for 10 months, since American Crystal last Aug. 1 locked out about 1,300 union workers at sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa. The two sides have not met since February. Crystal is using replacement workers at its plants and has said it plans to stand by its final contract offer, which union members rejected.

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