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LABOR News

October 12, 2012
Bank of Labor Supports 1,300 Locked-Out BCTGM Workers
A 14-month lockout by American Crystal Sugar Company of 1,300 workers at its processing facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa has sparked outrage in the labor community. The five local unions of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco and Grain Millers (BCTGM) rejected Crystal Sugar’s “final offer” to workers in August 2011 which contained substantial concessions regarding job security, seniority and health care. 
 
A video, shot in East Grand Forks, MN at the American Legion in September, features the children of locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers giving voice to the letters they wrote to Berg and the American Crystal board explaining how their families have been hurt by a lockout born of corporate greed.
 
 If you would like to help the workers, you can make a donation through the Minnesota AFL-CIO. Donations could help buy school clothes and supplies for the children, groceries for the families, gas cards and other desperately needed items.  In support of the locked-out workers Bank of Labor has made a contribution to the Strike Fund and encourages you to support you union brothers and sisters in their fight for a chance to work and earn a living.
 
Please make checks payable to Minnesota AFL-CIO. Please write “Strike Fund” in the memo line on your check and send to:
 
Minnesota AFL-CIO
175 Aurora Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55103
 
The AFL-CIO has endorsed a nationwide consumer boycott of American Crystal Sugar Company products beginning October 15th. AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the locked-out BCTGM workers “are responsible for American Crystal Sugar’s profitability and previously strong reputation.”  Before locking out the workers, the company was hugely profitable, with $1.5 billion in fiscal 2011 net earnings, up from $1.2 billion in 2010. In contrast CEO Dave Berg took in nearly $2.5 million in total compensationin 2011. While the workers have been without income or health care since the lockout began, “Crystal Sugar CEO Dave Berg has enjoyed the 50% pay raise he granted himself,” says Trumka.
 
The national labor movement endorses boycotts cautiously and only in instances of grave injustice. If the company returns to the bargaining table in good faith and reaches an agreement, the boycott will be called off.