Locked out sugar workers up the ante
- Blog Post by: Karen Lundegaard
- October 16, 2012 - 12:59 PM
Locked out workers at the American Crystal sugar plant are taking their contract dispute to a new level, calling for consumers to boycott the company’s products, and demonstrating outside stores that sell the sugar.
Tuesday, the national AFL-CIO issues a release supporting the boycott, which includes private lable products that use the sugar, such as Target brand sugar sold in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and North Dakota.
The national union, in its memo, noted that the company “refused to budge” on demands regarding seniority rights or its ability to increase contract workers. “We encourage all affiliated unions to do everything in your power to assist these workers.”
Workers have been locked out for more than a year as the company operates with replacement workers, which remains its focus, according to a report in the Fargo Forum.
“At this point, we’re focused on our new employees who are doing a great job of producing high-quality sugar for our customers,” Brian Ingulsrud, American Crystal’s vice president of administration told the paper. He added that the company’s rejected offer to the union included a 17 percent pay increase on top of an average pay and benefits package of more than $75,000 per year-round employee.
A major wind farm project, approved nearly two years ago, is on hold as developers await word from Washington on whether Congress will renew tax credits designed to bolster the wind industry.
The so–called Pleasant Valley project has all the needed permits and is “shovel ready, but due to the uncertainly regarding the [tax credit] buyers are on the sidelines,” said Joe DeVito , RES Americas vice president of development in an emailed response to the Austin Herald.
Existing wind farms wouldn’t be affected if the credit expires at the end of the year, but project in development are in limbo. Minnesota remains one of the country’s largest producers of wind energy.
Pleasant Valley would be the largest wind farm in Mower County, and had promised jobs and tax revenue to the area. The paper has a long story on the topic here.
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