AFL-CIO head pledges support on Crystal Sugar lockout

Richard Trumka
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka speaks at a news conference at the organization's St. Paul office. Trunka spoke on behalf of the 1,300 American Crystal Sugar workers who have been locked out of their jobs for nearly a year.
MPR photo/Tom Scheck

A national union leader says he plans to turn up the heat on American Crystal Sugar over the lockout of 1,300 union workers.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said the union is stepping in to escalate the one-year-old lockout by American Crystal Sugar.

"We pledge to coordinate and support the efforts to highlight American Crystal Sugar's total disregard for its employees and to make them a poster child for corporate greed and profit over employees," Trumka said.

He said the union will bring additional resources to the labor dispute and attempt to pressure American Crystal to return to the bargaining table. Trumka was not specific about the campaign against the Moorhead-based company, but he did pledge $25,000 to the local union to start the campaign.

Union workers were locked out last August by American Crystal Sugar. They have rejected the company's contract offer three times.

An American Crystal Sugar official says the company is not changing its strategy.

"We are focused on the outstanding employees we currently have in place to process the large crop our shareholders will start delivering to us in a few weeks," said American Crystal Vice President Brian Ingulsrud.

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