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North Dakota lawmakers deny benefits to locked out workers at American Crystal Sugar

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Source: Gfpeck, Flickr

Since American Crystal Sugar locked out union workers on Aug. 1, about 420 workers living in North Dakota have been denied unemployment benefits under state law. A proposal to allow the North Dakota residents to receive unemployment was killed in a committee of the North Dakota legislature Monday.

The proposal was being considered for the legislature’s special session but three Republicans on the committee opposed the bill.

State Sen. Terry Wanzek (R-Jamestown) told the Fargo Forum that the legislature needs to keep its focus on other issues: “It almost feels as if I’m being asked to choose sides.”

North Dakota AFL-CIO President Gary Granzotto and Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 167G President John Riskey released a joint statement criticizing the decision to block the bill.

“Workers at the Drayton and Hillsboro American Crystal Sugar plants have been forced off the job by their employer,” Granzotto and Riskey wrote. “These workers did not walk off the job; they have been locked out of their place of work.”

Workers who live in Minnesota are eligible for unemployment benefits if they’re locked out of their jobs.

“It’s time that North Dakota recognize the difference between a strike and a lockout,” they said. “It’s unfortunate that these North Dakotans are being treated differently than others in our state who have lost their jobs.”

About 1,300 workers have been locked out of their jobs at American Crystal Sugar since Aug. 1. They recently rejected the company’s most recent offer by 90 percent.

Comments

2 Comments

Ken Meyer
Comment posted November 11, 2011 @ 4:59 am Regarding the assertion that….

“It’s time that North Dakota recognize the difference between a strike and a lockout. It’s unfortunate that these North Dakotans are being treated differently than others in our state who have lost their jobs.”

Perhaps North Dakota generally has already recognized that those who have turned down contractual labor are “unemployed” by their own choosing, and have not “lost” their jobs at all, but rather have squandered them away themselves. Why should those who are indicated their unwillingness to labor at available jobs be subsidized by the State?

Suggestion: if those once employed by Crystal Sugar have economic problems, then perhaps they should sign the contract and get back to work…and quit asking their fellow citizens for an unearned handout.


mike
Comment posted November 12, 2011 @ 10:14 am these workers need to start a product boycot on facebook…………