Crystal Sugar talks break off again

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.
AP Photo/The Forum, David Samson

Efforts to break a 10-month contract stalemate between American Crystal Sugar and union workers failed Friday.

Union President John Riskey said the union brought a detailed counter proposals about health care, drug testing, and worker seniority to the session with a federal mediator. American Crystal officials said the counter offer was not consistent with the company's final contract offer.

The company says it stands by its final offer which workers overwhelmingly rejected twice.

Riskey says no additional talks are planned.

"Now we're going to go back to our members early this coming week and explain to them what happened and listen to them and hear what they have to say," Riskey said. "They will deliberate and decide our next course of action."

Riskey declined to say if union members might vote again on the final contract offer from American Crystal.

An American Crystal official did not respond to requests for an interview, but the company did issue a statement.

"After due consideration, American Crystal notified the union that their contract demands were not consistent with the company's final offer," the statement read.

American Crystal also stated that the company is moving forward with hiring new employees and other preparations to run a successful 2012 crop campaign.

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