Workplace Mediation Breaks Down Between Crystal Sugar and Workers Union
1,300 workers have been locked out of Crystal Sugar Company for ten months over a contract dispute with the company. Unfortunately for everyone, a workplace mediation on June 8 between the two parties did not resolve this problem. Crystal Sugar is not willing to budge on their stance in the lockout, and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 1676 officials are equally resolute in their stance at this time.
The Civil Mediation's Break Down According to Crystal Sugar
According to a news release sent by Crystal Sugar, the union's contract demands are unreasonable and and are asking for increases in wages and pensions that are significantly higher than what Crystal Sugar's final offer proposed. They go on to add that the union's contract demands “ignore many of American Crystal's proposals and the realities of the workplace today.”
As a result of the union's refusal to accept the final contract offer, Crystal Sugar locked 1,300 workers out of its five plants in Red River Valley. This lockout has been in effect for the past 10 months, and Crystal Sugar apparently intends to extend the lockouts until the union members accept the final contract offer.
Issues in the Mediation Services According to the Union
In this workplace mediation, the union presented “detailed proposals” which expressed their concern over a variety of issues, including health care, management concerns, and seniority. The workers had voted down the last contract offer by the company by a large majority. The contract itself proposed 13 percent wage raises over five years, however, key changes in the contract language and more expensive health care expenses were not well accepted.
According to John Riskey, president of the union, "While not surprised, employees of American Crystal Sugar are disappointed with the outcome of today's mediation session."