Ellison letter to Crystal's Berg urges a return to bargaining table

Thursday, November 30, 2011

Via Crookston Times:

Congressman Keith Ellison, a Democrat representing Minnesota’s 5th District in the U.S. House is the latest lawmaker to weigh in on the ongoing lockout of union workers at American Crystal Sugar.

In a letter to Crystal President/CEO Dave Berg, Ellison writes that the relationship between the company and the BCTGM union over the years has been amical and productive, and an example of how a company and its employees can work together in a mutually beneficial way. But, Ellison continues, he has “concerns about American Crystal Sugar’s decision to end good faith contract negotiations” and “bring in replacement workers from within the community and outside the region.” The lockout hurts loyal employees and Minnesota’s economy, Ellison writes. “I respectfully ask that your company resume negotiations with union workers so an equitable outcome can be reached.”

Calling the lockout a “serious matter,” Ellison notes in his letter that the lockout “jeopardizes years of cooperation between union workers, management and farmers.” BCTGM members have “stood with American Crystal Sugar Company to ensure the continued operation of the sugar program on the federal level, traveling to our nation’s capital numerous times to petition in solidarity alongside your company.”

Ellison concludes his letter by urging Berg and the company to “join the BCTGM workers at the bargaining table.

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