August 20, 2011 at 7:00 pm in INFORUM
Tags: columns, James Ferragut, Opinion 178 Comments »
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Doesn’t James do work for Crystal? Sounds like a hatchet job.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 52 151
It sounds like he’s working with management. I wonder if he makes Millions too?
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 40 119
You nailed it Mr. Farragut!….like my ole grandpa used to say, “never underestimate the power of human stupidity”
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 175 52
Unions were to protect the workers not coddle them while perpetuating and orchestrating manipulation. Supporting, if not even encouraging, slow downs-overstaffing-hiding-promoting who should have been fired-etc.
Unions have become what they were created to fight. The employees who quit (if I refused to sign my job description and HR forms I would not be working where I do either) MOVE ON! From what these whiners say it is a terrible place to work anyhow. Sounds to me they did you a favor-an adult living in the parents basement is better off in the long term if mommy & daddy kick them out of the house.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 154 51
Of course, it would not occur to Ferragut that he needs to find out how this “wonderful” contract affects the families that would have to work under it. That would take honesty and some willingness to learn. Having wasted time reading these columns over the years, that is a step beyond Ferragut’s abilities.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 49 170
First off, Crystal Sugar is in MOORHEAD (so Fargo isn’t in the running for a union town!).
Second: I know several people that work at Crystal Sugar. They already take home a decent paycheck and the ones I know aren’t exactly what you would call “talented”.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 149 43
Great piece. Not sure who’s leading this group of uneducated, unskilled laborers in their negotiations, but he/she might want to look at the big picture of the American economy.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 150 39
Could it be the large picture of the American economy is poor buying power of the middle and lower class? And increasing costs of living? Large companies hoarding their money in fear? I thought the American dream was to make money, and “if you work hard, you can be wealthy too”. Cheering for the demise of the working class seems counter-productive to what will keep this country strong, a strong middle class. Now, while I can’t back all of the union positions, I can back good wages and benefits, heck, I even want these things. Great piece if you are OK with giving up your job to somebody willing to do it for less. Great piece if you think only management should be able to negotiate their wages and benefit packages, especially in publicly held corporations. Great piece if you believe in the continued shift of wealth to the top 2% money hoarders of the US. Great piece if you think we are all “lucky to have jobs”.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 53 113
While I agree with some of your points, you’re totally off base in this scenario. The median income in Moorhead is under $20,000. These workers were just offered contracts worth roughly $50K in pay with benefits-some of which are worth up to $25K. They were asked to pay around $70 for a family health care plan. Their wages are going to go up. Please tell me how this has anything to do with the working class. Are you making $20.87 an hour? The only thing “working class” about many of these workers is their lack of education and marketable skills.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 147 34
Actually, when I haul beets to the factory every season, and have done so for over 10 years, I do make over $20.87 an hour. And almost all of that is spent here in our community. The problem in our community is those $10 dollar an hour jobs, many with no benefits. I have always said I do not agree with every union demand/request, but supporting good wages and benefits for the majority of Americans strengthens the nation. Being happy and supportive of $10 an hour jobs with no benefits, so the rest of us can help pay for their health care and child care seems foolish. Lack of education and marketable skills is another discussion . Do you believe everyone should go to college, and if they did, jobs would magically appear for them, and the more mundane jobs would then not need to be done? Do you believe every silver-spoon college educated individual is worthy of more pay? Or even in possession of marketable skills? Or willing to work swing shifts and have their vacation time dictated to them? Many people I have thought little of on first impression have turned out to be the most loyal, hardest working, caring people I have met. Some of the people who at first glance seem to be very successful are self-centered, loyal to money slackers willing to cash in their mothers retirement funds if it will benefit them. Passing judgement on anyone you do not personally know is impossible to do accurately. Determining people who seem less educated or upwardly mobile, or simply have other priorities, are not important to the community is shortsighted. (who will care for their disabled parents, create their art, take time with their children, etc.).
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Do I think everyone should go to college? No way. Is everyone who attended college a “silver spoon individual?” Again, no. To label them as such completely goes against your statement on passing judgement and really diminishes your entire argument.
I agree that the lack of benefits available to workers of lower paying jobs is a huge problem, coupled with the absurdity of our current health care system. But the ACS workers previously did not pay for their family health care plan. That affects the bottom line and premiums that you and I pay. They’re now being asked to pay roughly $70 a month for a similar plan and it’s a point of contention.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 97 19
If these employees think that the swing shifts are so horrible they are free to find employment elsewhere. My husband worked construction for 16 years and he DID have his vacation time dictated. Now he works at another job where he again has when he can use his vacation time dicated. You have vacation to use when the company is not busy and understaffed.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 91 20
Porkchop you are way off base. With us not paying monthly premiums it does not effect the premiums you pay. Crystal is self insured, they do not buy policies for us. Also the premiums are not the point of contention. It is all the contract language changes.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 31 76
Wow, rats, I agree with you. Funny how people cling to the chains that bind them. As the unions go, and workers protections are eradicated, those cheering on the corporations will find that they will lose both money and benefits. Sometime I will understand the hatred for unions. If you have a 40 hr. week, vacation time, breaks and your children are protected from exploitation at work, thank a union. And, no, I have never belonged to a union or worked for Crystal Sugar.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 44 89
I’m not disagreeing with either of you on the legacy and positive effects of unions, and I agree with rats that a strong middle class is what the United States needs to establish. But I really think this is a case of the negative effects of unions. It also needs to be said that there are obviously a lot of stand-up individuals amongst the locked out workers. It’s just the majority of the individuals chosen to represent the workers give off an extremely negative image to the working public.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 90 10
Porkchop, I did not mean to say that everyone who goes to college is a silver-spoon individual, sorry if that is what you got out of my post. Just pointing out that SOME people who go to college are really just spending daddy’s money, and have unrealistic views of how most people will need to work to make a living. Of course many fields require a quality education. A lot of jobs don’t, and many jobs, even technical ones, are taught more effectively on the job with the specific equipment and needs of the company.
If the ACS employees health insurance premiums were payed by the company, that does not affect our premiums, but does affect their bottom line. This may be one of the union demands I can’t agree with. But huge insurance and hospital profits could probably be controlled better with profitable companies opposing them. And when your salary is in the hundreds of thousands, even millions, of dollars per year, (like the executives at ACS), does the percentage of your pay going to insurance premiums really compare to the percentage payed by most workers? It is truly sad the median wage is under $20,000 in Moorhead, and every effort should be made to increase this and hold down the cost of living. Everyone would benefit, even the businesses who spend more in wages, because there would be more money spent. The competition and greed being spurred by some people’s idea of Capitalism is not sustainable, it is not possible to have ever higher profits to satisfy the demands of the stockholders. Something will eventually give. I think we agree that people deserve a decent living and fair wages, and my point is we should try and protect that.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 18 57
The excutives at Crystal are paid a large salary dependent on their education and schooling. Each of us are capable of making that salary if we choose to accept thousands of dollars in student loans and work our way up through the corporate ladder. If you would like to make a salary comparable to that of the executive please feel free to attempt it. I guarantee you that they did not just walk into the office and say – I want that job.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 101 24
porkchop where do you get 20.87/hr? I can show you a pay stub with the wage of 14.14/hr yes thats before the 5% raise which would have come into effect which by all means is still far below 20.87/hr. the 13% raise is over a 5 year period. Also the two options for healthcare plans not one said 70/mo premium, it was like 93/mo with a 4800 deductible, and option 2 was 193/mo with a 1500 deductible. And just so your aware there are many working class people that have extensive college degrees working there. But porkchop since you are all knowing you know the truth not the smoke and mirrors ACSC and Ferragut are spewing. Any half wit that puts any actual thought into this whole situation can see that ACSC is trying to break the workforce that has made it what it is today. Just wait and see how the beet crop is wasted with the replacement workers. It takes alot of talent to produce the quantity and quality of sugar from machinery that is anywhere from 10–80 years old. The biggest losers in the game will be the growers when their profits are sharply cut.
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Uneducated? Unskilled? You don’t know what YOUR talking about!
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“You don’t know what YOUR talking about!”
Just proved my point.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 85 14
no porkchop, you have no clue on how ACSC actually operates. and anyone else that “knows” is full of bs if you have not experienced it. Yet I’m sure all you keyboard cowards will speak your ridiculous opinions. which is always entertaining for me to read. Don’t let me down people.
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Hey check your facts my friend….I worked at Crystal and took a semester of nuclear physics in one week. So you are calling me uneducated and unskilled? What do you do?? If you do not know the facts check things out before you comment. Thank You.
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You are misleading and misguiding the public! You have NOT read the contract!
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The contract offer was posted online here: http://acsccontracttalks.com/
The Crystal Worker’s cries of “You haven’t read the contract!” to anyone who disagrees with them are as out of touch as their negotiating tactics.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 112 23
As noted by PW, the contract offer is available on-line. Many of us have read it.
Now it would be NICE if the union would provide some organized, consistent rebuttal to the ACS view of the contract. There has been no union message, no spokesman, nothing. Why do you guys pay union dues?
The union argument is so inconsistent, it leads me to believe you don’t really have a message to share. Or a leg to stand on.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 100 19
If you read everything and not just points of view close to your own you would find a consistent message. It’s about all the contract language changes that would completely strip the Union of it’s voice. Our leaders have been on radio, tv and newspapers consistently repeating that message. The website you refer to is the company’s. We have no access or ability to post to it. Stop by the lines and ask any worker and you also will find a consistent message.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 21 75
It would be beneficial if the Union offered a website stating what contract language they are unsatisfied with. Many of us have read the contract and do not believe that it is unfair or unclear language. The contract seems to be black and white to everyone who is not a member of the union. Please state the unclear language that you are all refering to.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 82 8
That is my point. I’d like to read the story from both points of view (and am insulted at your insinuation that I’m choosing to look only at one side). Many people have a website. How hard would it be for the union to create their own website?
Who are your leaders who have been on radio and TV? I work 7-5 so I don’t listen to day-time radio. I get my news from the Forum, the GF Herald and the Hillsboro Banner.
What “contract language changes”? That is very generic. The ACSC offer is public. You go line-by-line and say what you don’t like.
Your message is anything but consistant (unless, “we don’t like the language changes” is the message”).
Again…. for those of us interested in BOTH sides, you are doing nothing to help yourself. And continuing to insult us isn’t helping either.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 77 7
Have you read the contract? If so do you understand it? Many of us have read the contract in full. It is time that the union focused less of their attention of on standing on the side of the road and more attention on providing a rebuttal to the contract that is actually going to draw sympathy from the citizens in the community.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 74 12
brtajajen-I never said the ACS execs were not worth their pay. Im do not believe, however, that any of us can get those jobs simply by going to school. And their jobs are pretty scarce, percentage wise,so most people will never see those wages. Does not mean it is not a good idea to support living wages for everyone else.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 33 46
It is a good start. Comparing the salary of the factory jobs to those of the executives that run the company is not a fair comparison. If you were comparing your salaries and benefits to those working in the Case manufacturing plant that would be easier to view.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 67 6
Actually, I don’t work for ACS. Have had relatives who worked on both the mgmnt side and the union side though. ( for the record, the one who worked on the executive side retired after many years with a well deserved retirement plan and insurance benefits, and those who worked on the union side moved on to greener pastures after quite a few less years) I have constantly repeated I do not support every union demand, I simply believe people need and deserve good wages. This country really hummed when one worker could support a family to a fairly decent standard of living, now it takes at least 2 wage earners in most families and it sounds like most posters here think everyone should sacrifice their lives to the companies that are so kind to provide work. Everyone is just lucky to have a job. Forget about the quality of the one life you are given. Where was the big story when the execs negotiated their pay and benefits? How come everyone didn’t comment to them about how good they had it, just be happy with your pay? These people fighting for decent wages and good benefits may be asking for a little too much, but how do you negotiate but to ask for more than you expect, and both sides back off until you can agree. Heck, I even do that when buying a car. I see it as very petty for people to bash these workers, and shortsighted as most are basically saying they will work for less, and be happy to simply have a job. I want my kids and grand kids to work decent hours for fair pay, and I don’t think people understand that not every job requires a college education, there are a lot of jobs that do need to be done, and they are essential to the business, and the economy needs good paying jobs, and Americans deserve decent pay.
Hot debate. What do you think? 35 37
“and Americans deserve decent pay.”
Americans deserve fair pay. If one person is overpaid, that means another must be underpaid.
Hot debate. What do you think? 34 24
Yes I have read it and do understand it. I have many friends and family working there. If you read the newspapers, listen to the radio or watch tv you would hear many rebuttals. Oh wait, it’s probably not on Fox “News”.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 11 71
I do not watch Fox news. For your information I watch WDAY news on a nightly basis. The union just states that they wording isn’t clear. It is black and white. If the union does not like the offer presented then it is time to start finding employment for those who they have put out of work. Crystal has already renegotiated with your Union representatives. It is time that the Union members “lockout” their representatives until a solution is reached.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 76 12
I did hear a union rep on WDAY radio, and he was very clear about what the problems are. Wish he would repeat those here. The deductible per family member was astounding on the new contract.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 62
The deductible per family was not out of the ordinary in today’s society. My family’s deductible is $5,600 per year, that is $1,600 per year MORE than what you are being offered. Along with paying $168.20 per pay period for insurance (you are being asked to pay less than $1,000 per year). I would like to see more people post what their deductible and monthly contribution is so that the union members see that what is being offered to you is not out of line.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 67 9
I read these posts about once every two weeks for entertainment. Why would anyone that doesn’t work there, waste their time reading and interpretting the contract? Not enough to do. All of you on here voicing your opinions who are not involved-who cares? Do you think it is going to influence one side or the other? I don’t think so. Too many are under employed or think they are more important than they really are.
Hot debate. What do you think? 19 24
I am total outraged by ALL this Misleading info of the Crystal sugar UNION workers. These people work any where from a 8 to 12 hour, 7 day rotating shifts. They work holidays, drive all hours of the day and night in winter weather, they miss school events, they paid for gas, babysitters, food,school suplies etc, just like everyone else. Educated, well let’s see,they have Electricians that are licsense, technicians that went to school, boiler house formans with a boilers license and thats just to name a few. how many of you miss Christmas,Thanksgiving, school events, easter with you families? Fair contract? Sure Crystal makes its LOOK good but unless you have seen it first hand and read between all the twisted wording on how they want total control, you DON’T have a clue what is going on. It is not about the pay it is how they have everything worded. But they don’t speak of that, do they? These scabs that they are paying well they are getting $25 per hour. That is more than most Union worker from Crystal makes. I watched one of their guards sit in a car for 6 hours doing nothing, I also watched some of their other scabs walking around, sitting at the outside table doing nothing. At least the UNION people would be doing their jobs. Crystal is paying their wages, motel, airline tickets and food. So why are they spending more money on scabs instead of working out a fair deal? It is really sad to think that Hersey one of the bigger well know companies has rejected many truck of sugar since the scabs have came to town becuase the Quality was good enough. Maybe You should get more Education before talking about something you really know nothing about unless you have worked there. But I really don’t forsee that happening becuase most Educated people don’t like getting their hands dirty.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 29 91
They aren’t Scabs…Scabs are brought in when a union goes on strike…ACS workers DECIDED not to work anymore!!!
Sure there are a few skilled workers at ACS…However, the guard you mention who sits in his car doing nothing is doing the same thing that your union guards did…Skilled, hardly.
Pushing buttons on high tech machinery doesn’t make you high tech…it makes you a button pusher!!!
Now if you were the one who built the high tech equipment or were trained to repair it = skilled
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 105 26
They don’t have UNION guards. They are contravted out. Push buttons isn’t the only thin involed. WHO do YOU think fixes these easly PUSHED BUTTONS that makes everything run in that Plant? Yes you got SKILLED and SCHOOLED Mechanics and Technicians. Without them that place would NOT run.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 19 77
They are scabs! Scabs are brought in for strikes and lockouts. No workers decided not to work, they are locked out. It’s too bad you people can’t figure out the difference. We do not have Union guards those jobs were eliminated and contracted out many years ago. The Union guards had to make rounds, check on the factories and clock in at many key stations during their rounds. The contracted out guards don’t do any of that. You don’t know all the parameters that have to be watched stringently to ensure the quality of our sugar is the absolute best. Watching the computers and making constant corrections is a very stressfull job and is very high tech.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 21 77
According to American Heritage Dictionary a scab is refered to as:
A worker who refuses membership in a labor union.
An employee who works while others are on strike; a strikebreaker.
A person hired to replace a striking worker
You are not a STRIKING worker. You were locked out thanks to your local union representatives. You are incorrect in saying “no workers decided not to work”. You were presented with a contract to vote on and you said NO. If my employer presnted me with a contract and I refused to sign it I would be also refusing to work. It is the legalities that have to be resovled to protect the employee and employer.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 88 15
The high tech machinery often breaks down and as ACSC is finding out already, It’s highly trained union workers are the ones that get it working again. The highly skilled union workers are able to continue the process by hand when necessary. That’s where the lack of knowledge and experience is going to come into play. On some of this equipment we very often run it manually in certain stages because the automation is not capable or doesn’t work at all. Only the highly trained, and experienced operators that have dealt with this situation in the past will know what to do. When the factories are struggling and making nothing but steam ,smoke, and remelt,the farmers will be hauling out the rotten beets in the spring. I suppose someone who knows absolutely nothing about sugar processing WOULD think it’s as simple as pushing a button.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 35
Sassie Smile -
I beg to differ that the union employees would be “doing their jobs”. My dad worked for ACS for many years, leaving for other employment in the late 90′s. He has refered to a guy that worked there when he did. The guy is in his 90′s now and STILL working. The company continues to pay him his wages and he sweeps the hallways. WHY? Because he doesn’t want to retire. Hmmm, so since he still chooses to work the company must continue to pay him to sweep the hallways. Many other employers throughout the community would likely offer this employee a part time position if he wanted to continue working.
As far as the hours – those are the hours that you choose to work. My mother in law works as a nurse. She is 60 years old and works 5-6 twelve hour shifts some weeks because of the shortage of nurses. She missed many holidays, works all hours of the day, cannot miss work due to a storm, and does not receive benefits even comparable to those being offered to the union employees and she is the one that has to take care of you when you are sick. Really? I think that the union’s childish display on the sides of the road and throughout the media is only helping Crystal’s view throughout the community.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 91 18
Sassie – your comments on being educated might be better recieved if you checked your spelling.
There are many, many people who work shifts, night, weekends, holidays – not just ACS (health care staff, law enforcement, and a multitude of other public services jobs) so that point is lost. Crystal has a responsibility to its growers to keep the plant running, so if the Union workers refuse to sign a contract, they have every right to lock them out. Do you want workers who are angry at the empolyer running your facility? They essentially have no working contract, and the risks of having Union workers with no contract in the facility could present all kinds of issues. I think the ACS employees have allowed the Union too much power. The Union has done these employees no favor, at least in this go round. I don’t agree with the comments re: being uneducated and unskilled; however, I would venture a good majority of these workers have been educated/trained on the job at ACS’s expense. Time for the Union to get back to the table – and for the ACS workers to step back and see how their Union dues are helping them.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 75 10
I’m not taking sides on this one because even though the contract is posted online I have not read it. But I do know unions do not ALWAYS do what is best for their members. I know of a tractor company years ago that was going through contract negotiations. The union demanded more than the company could give. And yes it was more than the company could give not more than they were willing to give. The company warned the union and the workers that if they couldn’t negotiate an agreement the company would go under. The unions response to that was to stage a strike. The union reps were not listening to their members. The members wanted to go back to work and go back to the barganing table. The union reps refused. There was a lot more to this issue than I can put in this comment, but the end result was that the company DID end up closing its doors and going out of business. And hundreds of people were without jobs. Obviously there were other problems in this sutuation than what appears to be happening with Crystal Sugar, but employees need to know that not every move a union makes is guaranteed to be in their best interest. It sure wasn’t at the tractor company.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 84 9
It would be nice to go back to the table for the Union workers at Crystal Sugar But the Company will not Negotiate. They won’t even take the time to talk with the union. BUT Crystal dosen’t tell anyone that. So it is not the Union who Negotiate it is Crystal.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 24 78
When you are negotiating on a car and the dealership says I want $5,000 for the car do you just stomp your foot and walk away or do you make a counter offer? Make a counter offer.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 80 8
We did and have made conter offers. The company has simply stated it’s their way or no way.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 20 67
I do not recall hearing about a counter offer after the vote. What did the union propose?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 63 3
Crystal has pubicly stated they are not willing to negotiate – they have told everyone that! I have no contract in my employment – I am told every year what my raise is (luckily I have always gotten a raise, though sometimes small), what my benefit costs will be (my insurance premium is six times the ACS proposal). As employees, we do not get to vote on changes to the employee policy manual – it is determined by the Administration and Board of Directors. They try to involve committees for employee input for policy changes, but the top dogs have the final say. If I don’t agreee with my salary, benefits, or policies – there is no avenue for negotiation. Do I want to belong to a Union? No. I trust my employer doing the best they can, and if there comes a time I do not I will look for another job. My employer does not raise insurance premiums or fail to give large raises just to pad their own pockets, but they do make a considerable amount more than I do – because they carry all the risk for decision making. They try to be fair because they do not wish for a high employee turnover – which costs them a considerable amount of money. Bottom line – if you can’t trust your employer (which is what the ACS workers are being led to believe by the Union) take the next available job out there.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 83 5
Tha is exactly what American Crystal sugar executives did. They smirked and said this is our best offer and when everyone turned it down. They stomped their feet and walked away.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 11 34
Wow! It sounds like you are having some good dreams. What tractor company went out of business because of the Union? The membership decides on strikes not the leadership. It is voted on. If the membership calls a meeting to vote to end a strike the strike is ended.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 66
how do you union guys like sitting at home not getting paid while the union heads who are “negotiating” the new contract are still getting their paychecks? i’d start putting pressure on them now cause your family is gonna start to starve if they don’t do their job that you are still paying them to do. i bet they’d have their butts in meetings until this was settled if their pay ceased when yours did.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 90 16
It is REALLY hard to Negotiate when CRYSTAL Sugar WON’T go to the table and talk like THEY SHOULD. I guess you should get YOUR facts stright before barking
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 20 75
The company HAS renegotiated. Read the contract again, they have made many changes to the original contract that was offered. They have said time and time again that this would be the final offer that they make. It is still available to them employees should they choose that working a job with exceptional benefits is better than joining 9.1% of the workforce as unemployed.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 69 13
what facts did did i get wrong? i’m just saying the union negotiators would be knocking on the doors every moment of everyday if their paychecks stopped coming in, like the locked out workers checks have. yet the locked out workers have to continue to pay their dues. sounds like a great plan to me.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 58 8
The Union heads work in the factories are locked out also. There is only 1 full time Union officer. They can’t be in meetings because the company refuses to meet.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 15 55
I made less the $15 an hour, my last paycheck showed a gross income of $18,000 (an that was with ALOT of overtime, enough to get me Year Round status 1 month before we got locked out).
So, to continue doing those hours, with all that overtime (it was a phase, you don’t always have overtime, but I will make the math easy), that means my yearly income would be about $36,000. So, supposedly, I make $50,000 to $75,000 a year average, that means they are paying $14,000 to $39,000 in “benefits and healthcare”? Riiight.
Also, losing 11% of my income after the end of the 5 year contract, what would await me for the NEXT contract? Another cut in pay? While the management gets their bonuses AND the shirts off our backs?
Now true, not all the jobs at Crystal Sugar require skilled labor. But some of these workers, with their 20+ years experience, are incredibly talented in their jobs, and have saved the company money time and time again with the knowledge they have gained over the years.
I’m not saying the company should sign off completely on our proposal, but to continue to negotiate and find some common ground.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 23 67
Please explain how you lose 11% of your income.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 59 4
Mr. Ferragut –
FINALLY!!! Someone in the media speaks out to let these employees know that what is being offered to them isn’t bad!! My husband works a government/union job. The benefits we receive are not NEAR what is being offered to the union employees of American Crystal Sugar. Currently for a family plan we have a deductible of $5,600 for a family plan (the company pays 80% of the deductible) and we pay $168.20 per pay period for our coverage as well. The total that we are paying per year for our health insurance benefits (if we meet the deductible) is $5,493.20! According to the final offer that Crystal presented the union with, they are being offered the same health insurance benefits that the non-union employees receive. Why do you think that just because you are a union employee that you should continue to have your insurance paid for? In the proposed offer the company is stating that they are paying 85% of your health insurance premium. This is an INCREDIBLE offer!! I would consider yourself lucky an accept the offer (and receive a $2,000 signing bonus for doing nothing). Also, according to the latest posting on http://acsccontracttalks.com/, Crystal shows you that the minimum pay increase being offered is $1,560 per year and the maximum out of pocket expense with the current insurance is $1,373.00. Your increase in pay offsets the premium you are being asked to pay. I have read that many of you are worried that the insuance plan can change at any time. Welcome to the real world. The rest of us have been paying increased premiums for many years because our employer is not going to eat the cost of these increases. You were lucky to be in a contract that was worded in such a state that the increases in premiums are not passed along to you.
Next – you are stating that the company has used selective wording so that they can get rid of positions at anytime. Revist the website and read the contract again. The contract states the company can subcontract work if 4 qualifications are met. One of those qualifications is that “the assignment of work will NOT cause the layoff of any barganing unit employee” (page 4 of the contract). If the subcontracting of work will cause the layoff of an employee the company CANNOT offer the contract to an outside party. If the union is providing the company with a skilled employee capable of performing the work the company cannot terminate that position.
I believe that the company already visited the barganing table with your PAID representatives and came to some common ground. If you fully READ the contract there are MANY changes that have been made to it. Why do you think that Crystal should have to give in to each and every one of your demands. There are many areas that they have already changed and those areas have been agreed upon (as stated by the notes in the margin of the contract). I think that it is now time for the Union to bend a little bit and accept an offer that is fair, reasonable, and offers you better benefits than a lot of other people receive. If I did not sign a contract that my employer offered to me I would be terminated (with not option for unemployment) and would have to search for work else where. After the way that the former Union employees of American Crystal Sugar have tried to drag the companies name into the ground over the past 3 weeks you should consider yourselves lucky that the company even has its offer on the table anymore. Quite honestly, if you think that the company is that “unfair” and you cannot trust them why do you want to work there? According to another article published in the Forum today workers are video taping the company because they don’t trust them. Why would you want to work for a company that you say is treating you poorly and offering you a contract that you think is unacceptable. Unions were originally created to protect employees against unethical treatment by employers. What the union has lacked seeing in this contract is that it is fair and ethical. Either sign the contract or get off your chairs and find a better job if you seem to think that working for Crystal is SO bad!! There are many people out there that would GLADLY work the hours that you do for the pay and benefits that you receive.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 92 24
If this is true why haven’t I seen you out there working on Christmas day and Eve????? Or are you the one that quit when the holidays rolled around???
Hot debate. What do you think? 26 26
My husband DOES work holidays. He does not complain about it. My dad worked at ACS for 20 years. He worked many holidays. My mother in law is a nurse who also works holidays. We schedule our holiday celebrations around their work schedule. For your information I went to school for Accounting and work a position that does not require most holidays (I do work Christmas Eve, not day), however if it did I would be more than happy to work them. It is the sacrifice you make for your family. If you think that your treatment is so out of line find a job with better benefits and pay. The option is yours.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 52 10
. It’s ok for your husband and mother in law to work the holidays, but not yourself?
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 39
As I stated ” I went to school for accounting and work a position that does not require me to work most holidays, however if it did I would be more than happy to work them”. I am sure there was “language” in my last post that was misleading therefore you did not understand that I stated I would gladly work holidays if my job required them.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 43 6
My father-in-law and my mother-in-law asked to work most Holidays. We could always celebrate at a different time but with the overtime on top of Holiday pay, their Christmas was paid for in one day. I don’t really feel sorry for many of the factory workers that work the Holidays, I feel much more badly for the nurses and patients and families of the patients. Sitting in the cancer ward knowing that this is your last Christmas with a child or parent is heart wrenching. The care givers that stay upbeat and make those days special are truly saints.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 37 7
Yep. Lucky to have a job.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 15
your opportunity to “negotiate” came and went – what the union turned down shows the arrogance that these brainwashers have over those not willing to stand on their own. we are witnessing a modern day cult with a license by the federal government to “negotiate” for the masses with such a slant that it is hard for the public interest to see reality. nice article, thanks.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 72 15
Porkchop….by the way nice name. First off I commented on one of your many post about me being uneducated. I have not seen a post back to see if you took a semester of neclear physics in one week. If you can prove that you are more educated than I am bring it on!! Second..do you realize these plants are death traps from one end to the other? Unfortunatly these workers they have right now do not know how these plants run..and they I am sure have a person or persons to go home to. Without knowledge of how to run eqipment and where not to go I believe one or more may get hurt and maybe fatally…do you want that on your shoulders to tell there children or can you just pay the kids off too? I would absoulutly hate to see something like that happen but it is a very good possibility. So what I am saying is think less about money and think more about the welfare of humans if you can.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 52
Are you one of the union employees that has time and time again threatened a strike right before harvest? It is about time ACS put its foot down and quit being bullied by a Union. It is sad that the reason that unions were created is now the same reason they are being destroyed. The unions were created to make sure employees received a fair contract. What more do they need to do? The ones I truly feel sorry for are the 3% of the union employees who voted to accept the contract. Obviously they do not see the same things the rest of you do in the contract. I spoke with a retired ACS union worker about 2 weeks before the contract deadline and he stated he felt the union would be foolish to turn down the offer. It is time for the current employees to see that the union is brainwashing and bullying you.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 66 12
“I have not seen a post back to see if you took a semester of neclear physics in one week”
So this is now your talking point. You took a week long course in “neclear” physics. So what? I guess you are a “neclear” physicist now. Amazing. What are you doing working for ACS? You should apply for a job as NASA instead of ACS. With your impeccable credentials and week long course in “neclear” physics, I am sure there is not a company in the world that would not hire you. ACS is just holding you back, and with its unsafe working conditions you are crazy to even want to work there anymore. Well except that is all a load of BS. It is a working man’s dream to get paid that much for doing that job.
Don’t worry about your replacements. They accept the risks of the job and feel that their compensation is adequate for the level of risk involved. I bet they are more nervous driving by the hoards of sign wavers at the end of their shift than they are in the plant. Unstable people are far more dangerous than modern machinery.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 58 11
they trained the union guys, who says the scabs cant be trained????
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 48 10
The union guys train the union guys. Not the mangement. The Corporate office mantra has been for decades that mangement doesn’t have to know process. They just need to be good managers. Now we shall see how that works!!!
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 39
Just some videos about sugar beet production.
Like or Dislike: 16 2
I sure hope we have a decent harvest this year and the Farmers and the Company do well. And the harvest workers, and the trans systems drivers. And then United Sugars sells it all at record prices. And I hope the factory workers don’t screw it all up. It would be nice to count on experienced workers, but why not risk it. What’s the worst thing that can happen to a billion dollar segment of the back bone of our local economy-agriculture?
Hot debate. What do you think? 27 15
It certainly would be nice to be able to rely on experienced workers. However the “experienced” workers have choosen that they do not want to work under the horrific contract that was offered to them. Fortunately for ACS they were able to find these “scabs” that are working for horrible pay and unheard of benefits. They even work day in and day out knowing that if they do not perform they might lose their job. I wonder where in the world ACS was able to find such foolish people?? They are just proving that everyone is replacable and that there are people out there that want the jobs that you once held. The worst thing that could have happened is having a group of disgruntled workers in the factory that chose to stike a week before harvest (or threaten to do so once again). It is time that the union learns they are not in control of the company, the OWNERS are.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 55 14
Who owns ACS? The farmers? The board of Directors? The execs hired to run the company? I understand you want the union to go away. I also understand you are giddy with joy over the contracts negotiated by the execs who run the company (they do not own it, but are doing pretty well). What is hard for me to understand is why you are so joyous to see workers benefits and buying power being eroded. However your life “experience” obviously enables you the clear insight and omnipotence to comment with authority. I bet you are one of the type of people who ran out to buy Polaris stock as soon as you heard they moved to Mexico to lower wages and increase profits. You should look into if your company can save money in similar fashion, didn’t you say you were an accountant?
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 38
“What is hard for me to understand is why you are so joyous to see workers benefits and buying power being eroded.”
That is not what is happening here. We are seeing a bunch uneducated people shoot themselves in the foot because they are to ignorant to know a good thing when they see it. I hate to see a gang of ignorant bullies get their way when they are dead wrong.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 45 16
Yep, you nailed it. “lucky to have a job”. Only the execs should have the ability to negotiate their wages and benefits.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 39
I did not say that. You keep saying it because without distorting the argument of other people, you simply cannot win this one. It is not about executive pay. It is not about erosion of benefits. It is about a bunch of union people who believe that their salary and benefit package is not good enough, when the simple fact is, that it is excellent when compared to the average for this type of work. That is all.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 46 14
ACS is a cooperative, meaning it is owned by its shareholders. Each acre of sugarbeets available to plant represents a share in the company. Many of the owners (growers) are sad to see the employees go, however they understand that the contract presented was fair. Unfortunately for the union workers with a nation unemployment rate over 9% the employers have a lot more barganing power than the employees. This ratio shows there is a large portion of employees that are looking for work…and some of them just found it.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 32 6
It is my understanding the workers offered to work under the old contract, but the excuse by Crystal is they could have then just struck during harvest. Why didn’t Crystal put forward a contract extension which would have prevented their concern of a strike during harvest?
Hot debate. What do you think? 24 33
I think the economy is right for “union busting” and ACS sees an opportunity to increase their profits. The majority of posters here are buying into the “lucky to have a job” ploy, and we will all eventually pay the price.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 13 44
Mary the old contract that the union offered to keep working under already has a clause in it that prevents a strike once we have started processing beets. If we were to try go on strike once processing has begun Crystal Sugar could fire us all on the spot no questions asked.
Like or Dislike: 12 6
The farmers will be hauling stinking rotten beets out next spring because the struggling factories will be unable to process them.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 38
Get fact in order the workers they have in right now are getting paid more than the people that were in there. Not that it matters to you because you will hide it but there was never ever a strike threatened as you seem to claim.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 2 19
Short term labor is always higher cost due to lack of benefits and no guarantees for time duration! Anyone who has ever managed anything would know this basic business principal.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 18 0
I kinda think the workers should be happy to have a job considering the state of the economy. How much do the ACS workers think their sugar cane counterparts in South America make an hour? How about their health insurance benefits? Job security?
I don’t have a dog in this fight, but maybe ACS management is trying to avoid what put the car makers in a pickle a couple of years ago. The union worker wages / retirement liability pretty much drove them into the ground and the Federal Government had to bail them out.
Take into account the subsidies, tariffs, and free trade regulations the feds give ACS now to keep them competitive. I don’t have the numbers, but without it I would think ACS would be paying minimum wage at best.
The workers should count themselves LUCKY!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 46 13
Yep, I think all jobs should be compared to what workers in other countries are compensated. Why not compare to the wages in Norway? Why does everyone aspire to live the third world way? Not saying the union is 100% right, but increasing the median wage and buying power of the middle class will get the economy rolling more quickly than depressing wages and benefits.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 38
Justin, please feel free to post what other union factory workers are paid.I am sure you have done your research to back up your statement. Start with Min-Dak, maybe. Of course, you are probably
ok with simply saying “that type of work”. What are the specific jobs and their respective national wage averages? That would help. Be sure to include other government subsidized industries, like dept of defense contractors and federal DOT workers. Lay out the simple facts for us.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 25
I would think Mr Ferragut would have been a little more accurate in his numbers. From what I have read, the $2000 signing bonus is included in the 17% and it is a one time payment, not paid every year. It tends to erode one’s credibility when they twist the numbers. Not that his opinion is good for anything but selling papers.
Hot debate. What do you think? 23 23
Can someone in the media please dig a little deeper on this? It looks like James Ferragut began to, but then stopped like everyone else has, and concentrated on the money…
This isn’t about the money people! The union has even said this!
No one close to this story has reported what is really going on. INFORUM pull out your best junior reporter and sic ‘em on this assignment! Uncover what this disagreement is really about!
It’s about the seniority agreement. Its about how a veteran 20 year employee doesn’t want to get bumped from their job by a subcontractor when the company doesn’t own the equipment. The union wants control on how management manages their operations. It’s not about the money! It’s not about the benifits!
Mr. Ferragut, please dig deeper! The devil is in the details. You fell into the trap like the rest of everyone on here, looking at the money. This is about seniority! Get a union worker off camera to give you the real assessment of what is going on. Find one of the 4% of the workers that voted FOR the contract, and get their feedback.
This is about seniority. It’s about inefficiency. It’s about a union trying to tell a company how to manage their business.
Please can someone in the media report what this is really about? And if I’m wrong, then would one of the union workers speak up and tell me? Job security is a very loose term wih unions…especially when it comes to a seniority agreement.
Hot debate. What do you think? 28 17
I think there may be an issue with seniority, one of the things I can’t fully agree with the union on. I am not sure how an employee with 20 years experience would get bumped from a job operating equipment the company does not currently own, but it might be possible.
Like or Dislike: 10 14
I sat here and read most of the comments and was amazed how much input people that know nothing about the matter had. First off the people in the factories now are scabs in every way shape and form. Secondly ACS never did bargain in good faith. They have had the company that is supplying the on the payroll for over a year now. They fully intended to either have a strike or lock the employees out. Thirdly the contract they offered to the union was pretty much the same as the 50 pages of proposals that ACS had from day one. Also their final offer was the ONLY offer and it did not come out until a few days before the deadline to avoid all of this. The wording of this contract also takes away all seniority rights that we have worked for over the years, it leaves the option open for the company to contract out all of our jobs at anytime they choose plus many many other takes aways that you would know about if you actually read and understood the contract. As for the health care they are offering the deciding factor on not wanting that was not just the added cost to the employees. Again here it was and is wording. If you actually read the contract offer you would know that the offer doesnt lock in anything with the health insurance as far as deductibles and cost or even what plan would be offered. The wording leaves it open for the company to change it anytime they want. It clearly states in the proposal by ACS that they could change the plan from time to time as they choose to do. This is just a short list of what is wrong with the proposal offered to us by ACS. I suggest some of you do a little more reading before commenting anymore.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 34
“First off the people in the factories now are scabs in every way shape and form. ” The word scab has been defined many times. These workers are doing the job for people who are refusing to fulfill their duties.
“Secondly ACS never did bargain in good faith….” ACS has to be accountable the growers. If management didn’t have a contingency plan, they wouldn’t be doing their job. Just like businesses keep financial and computer records off-site, it is only prudent that ACS be ready in case the union went on strike or didn’t accept the offer being offered.
“their final offer was the ONLY offer” No, their first offer came out May 6th with many meetings between then and July 28th.
“The wording of this contract also takes away all seniority rights that we have worked for over the years, it leaves the option open for the company to contract out all of our jobs at anytime they choose” Once again, false… from the ACS website:
Myth #9: ACSC could use the proposed sub-contracting language to demote or layoff employees and then replace them with sub-contractors.
Fact: The proposed language provides that ACSC cannot sub-contract when union employees are available and have the skills necessary to perform the work. The proposed language also provides that subcontracting cannot cause the layoff of any employees.
Healthcare – welcome to the real world. As has been said numerous times before, the plan being offered is extremely good compared to other places of employment. With Obamacare and the crazy federal administration in place plus the state of MN, any employer needs to have the option of making changes. It is very likely that some form of healthcare will be mandated and they don’t want to be left in the middle between a union contract and the law.
I have read the contract numerous times. I have good friends at ACS and really would like to be able to side with them but I can’t. The time for Unions has come and gone and they are holding the employees back. I pray that this gets resolved soon but the union has led the employees so astray, that I can’t see a resolution.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 47 11
It does seem like they had a plan, and most posters here agree with it. I don’t think they appreciate what this does to the rest of the workforce, and are willing to take what they can, feeling lucky to have work. I can’t tell for sure if they are jealous, or why they think it’s great to see compensation and security going downhill instead of uphill. Good luck to you and the rest of the workers who helped make ACS the powerhouse it is. Maybe the story about the State Mill workers and how they treat their employees will help.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 6 33
“The wording of this contract also takes away all seniority rights that we have worked for over the years,”
Welcome to the real world. In most jobs, there are no seniority rights.
” it leaves the option open for the company to contract out all of our jobs at anytime they choose”
Welcome to the real world. My company can contract out my position at any time without any notice.
“As for the health care they are offering the deciding factor on not wanting that was not just the added cost to the employees.”
Welcome to the real world.
“If you actually read the contract offer you would know that the offer doesnt lock in anything with the health insurance as far as deductibles and cost or even what plan would be offered.”
Welcome to the real world. My health plan can change from year to year without any input from me.
“The wording leaves it open for the company to change it anytime they want.”
Welcome to the real world. At any time my employer wants to renegotiate our health care plan, they can.
Like or Dislike: 15 4
chloesmom no employee at ACS refused to perform their duties. We were all there august 1 willing to keep working while ACS and the union worked out a deal. We were more than willing to sign an extension to the contract that had made the company billions of dollars over the 7 years it was in effect.I have been working at ACS since 1988 and at no time since then has the union or its members threatened to strike and that includes this time. Just for the record that is exactly what happened 7 years ago when our last contract was signed and it would have worked again except Dave Berg and ACS had been planning this for over a year and it was going to happen.
As for your suggestion that there was more than the final contract offer you are wrong. The company gave the union a list of proposals on may 6th but no actual contract was offered until last minute. No complete contract from the company was put on the table until the very end.
As for the contracting out of our jobs again you dont know what you are talking about. The wording of the contract offer from the company said they wouldnt contract out any jobs that the company had the equipment to do. Many jobs at Crystal count on the use of skidsteers and loaders and such. These are all often broke down and all the company would have to do is not fix them and before you knew what was going on the company would no longer have the equipment to do the jobs and would be free to contract out the jobs by the wording of the contract. Also on the same subject the contract said it wouldnt contract out any jobs that would cause the “lay off” of any union employees. Notice it says nothing about firing. It also does not say anything about demoting employees as you claim. Crystal Sugar would have the right to contract out jobs and demote the current employees now holding those jobs. If you have read the contract proposal many times as you claim you would know that. Crystal sugar said this was not their intent but wouldnt change the wording accordingly or simply drop the proposal.
As for the seniority the company wants to have the right to put any one they choose into any and all job openings. Working for the same company for 20, 30 and in some cases much longer should give you some rights. It isnt right for the company to take those rights and throw them away. It would basicly turn into a popularity contest with the company refusing to let people that dont kiss up to move up.
As for the healthcare offered while I disagree with you that it is so good that really isnt the issue. The big issue is that the company reserves the right to change it at will. You say they need to do that so they can stay within the law if there is changes. That is a load of BS but fact of the matter is if voted in the contract would leave Crystal Sugar the option to change it just because they wanted too. If you dont work for Crystal Sugar you dont know how they operate. They are no longer employee friendly. If we were to have voted yes on the contract they offered the day after it was approved the healthcare offered could be changed completely. That is a fact. All it would take to make this contract acceptable to union employees is slight wording changes here and there. Crystal Sugar has refused to make any of them.
This contract was not voted down because of money but since I am here I will set a few things straight on that. It is said by many that the company offered a 17% pay increase over the 5 years of the contract. That is not totally true. They claim they are offering an 8% pay increase in the first year of the contract. They are not. It is a 4% increase with a 2000.00 signing bonus. Also a little know fact about the proposed pay increase is that the 2000.00 signing bonus wasnt available to all employees. Any employees that were on lay off or out on medical leave or not working for any reason were not eligible to receive it.
As for the union leading the employees astray you are wrong again. Despite what many seem to think it isnt a bunch of uneducated idiots working for ACS. The union actually took a neutral stand on the ONLY contract offer we received from the company. We employees read the contract proposal and voted how we saw fit. That was 96% against it. That number alone should tell people something. Maybe you should try reading the contract again and this time try keeping an open mind about it. The contract proposed by the company took the old contract and ripped it apart page by page. That is the very contract that had made the company billions of dollars over the years and made Dave Berg almost 2 million dollars last year alone. This should have been a true case of the old saying if it aint broke dont fix it.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 40
I’m afraid you have not found many sympathetic readers on this forum. It’s too bad they can’t see what seems obvious to some of us. Good luck to you and the rest of the workers.
Hot debate. What do you think? 17 20
Enough Pot-stirring and playing a martyred drama queen! You quit, it isn’t “your job”.
Off the lawn chairs move on and get a job!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 13
Wow, strong words from someone in the know! Did you have some jobs to offer, at decent wages? Or are you part of the larger movement depressing wages and benefits to the workers while the execs and shareholders hoard the cash? Funny how many companies are showing record profits, yet jobs are not showing up with good pay and benefits. The same companies that are hoarding the cash are using the recession as an excuse to downsize their workforces, which of course hurts the economy even worse. Why don’t you move on and offer your job to someone willing to do it for less, with less benefits and job security. It would benefit your company, and prove you are not a hypocrite.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 32
Rats, there is a difference in a union fighting for fair wages and terms. Then there is this union that wants more. Sorry but job security should NOT be part of any contract. Not all industries and professions are union, no matter how much you may think they should be. Any of those people can be fired at any time. Sorry but even in a union, if you do a sup-par job, you should be able to be canned too. Look at the auto unions, making the companies pay benefits to retired workers. Now how is THAT economically feasible in any way?
The bottom line is that your union got greedy. They demanded more than was fair and it bit them. now here you are constantly accusing people of wanting to drive wages down, when that just is not the case. We are against an abusive union trying to throw their weight around.
Unions have done excellent things in the past, and will continue to do so, IF led by clear seeing people. This union is after nothing more than money. That is why few are “with” you.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 23 7
jumangi if our union is greedy how do you explain that in the union proposal we only asked for 10% raises over the life of the contract but yet we turned down the 17% the company offered. Again you seem to be one of the worse sources of misinformation on this site. Gets your facts straight before voicing your opinion. As for the so few “with” us again you are wrong. You think because you get a few people in these blogs speaking out against the union and its members that is an accurate count of for and against? I can tell you this simply isnt the case in the community I am in. I have been going to the picket line when ever I could since all this has started and can tell you there have been thousands of people honking to show their support for us. There have only been a few that have actually did anything negative. There have been a few like yourself that didnt have all the facts that have actually stopped and asked our side and everyone of them was for us by the time they left. The local businesses have sent pizza, chicken, pop, water and ice. They even put on a BBQ for us. One even offers a 10% discount to any and all locked out employees. Not just those that live here either. That offer is open to all employees up and down the valley.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 25
So, the picket line is your community? Well then no wonder you think everyone stands with you. Also, you merely talk about raises, you conveniently leave out paying for health benefits and other things. So, I still stand by my comment. It is NOT just about raises.
Like or Dislike: 19 5
Well Sassie, ACS repeatedly said Final Offer. Up to that point the were talking and they had made many concessions; however, as when a child continually refuses to be reasonable, the parent draws the line.
In case you missed it, the union is the unreasonable child in the scenario. ACS did negotiate and did offer a more than fair contract. Union members chose to not listen to them and now have sobered up and want yet another offer.
The ball isn’t in ACSs court, it isn’t up to them and they aren’t ignoring the union. It is the union “brothers and sisters” who need to accept the offer or MOVE ON!
What part of FINAL OFFER is so confusing!!??!!??!!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 43 10
I have a few questions for you.
1. If you owned a company would you want your employees dictating when and if you could bring someone from the outside in to help with a project?
2. Do you really think that it would be a popularity contest or do you think they would bring in the person with the correct training to do the job vs the one with the most time on the job?
3. If you add the $2,000 signing bonus to the 4% increase what is the increase to your wages the first year of the contract?
4. If it isn’t about money why do you keep bringng up how much David Berg makes? If they offered a 0% raise and took whatever wording you are scared of out would you accept the offer?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 36 7
Anthony Olson I am guessing since you know that ACS had made many concessions that you were somehow involved in the contract talks between ACS and the union. Why dont you share some of those concessions that the company made with us so we can all better understand?
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 30
Excellent article Dan Miller. It’s remakable how so many people say they have read the contract online at ACSC’s website and yet do not understand it at all. In my opinion I would just assume that when 1300 workers vote something down that there is a perfectly good reason for it and I would be embarrassed as heck to show my ignorance by speaking against them.
Not always, the workers could have voted because their leaders told them that they could get more concessions in time.
Like or Dislike: 21 7
Again now what you are talking about before posting jumangi. The union took a neutral stance on this contract and did not tell union members to vote yes or no. They said it was our decision to make.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 6 20
So, then you all decided you needed a vacation? Yeah, I am sure your leaders heavily influenced your choices to vote no. My step-father is in the union, yeah he might be pissed about my stance but I do not care. I have seen, first hand, the bureaucracy prevalent in unions.
jumangi you are a complete idiot. The union influenced in no way shape or form. I sat down and read through the contract offer in my owe home and on my own computer and drew my own conclusions. Right wrong or indifferent the union had nothing to do with it.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 4 17
Sure dan, I am sure you would have stood up in front of your fellow members and told them to vote for it. No, you talked to a number of them and found out they thought they should vote no, therefore, to show solidarity, you voted no too. Exactly what the union leaders wanted you to vote. It’s alright, you can admit it.
Like or Dislike: 15 6
anidea I have worked for ACS for 20 plus years and can tell you this. The union or the union employees have never stood in the way of the company bringing in contractors to do work that ACS either didnt have the employees or the equipment to do. Every summer the contractors on site out number the employees by a large margin. The language in the contract that we had has worked well for many years and the only reason ACS would have to change it would be if they had plans of outsourcing union jobs at some point down the road.
As for your second question yes I do think it would end up a popularity contest when filling jobs if you took seniority out of the picture. I can also tell you this. There is almost no training you could come into the factory with that would help you do most of the jobs there. With most of these jobs on the job experience is the only way to learn them. The old contract already had articles in it so that if someone had previously held the job that they would have super seniority over a person that simply had been there longer then them. Again this is something that has worked over the years and there is really no reason to change it unless the company has something else in mind which most that know how the company works think they do.
As for your third question if you add the 2000.00 to the 4% raise they offered in the first year of the contract it does come up to 8% on average but the 2000.00 is a one time deal and wasnt available to all employees. It is also in the end not a wage increase since at the beginning of the next year that extra 4% would be gone. I will say again it isnt about the money though.
As for your last question as to why bring up what Berg makes if it isnt about the money it is because it shows how well the company is doing. His wage and benefit package is performance based after his base salary. That package has gone up in value 123% over the last 3 years. ACS is doing very very well in the profit department and that increase for Berg is proof of that. There is no reason at this time to attack the employees benefit package when management just keeps getting more because the company is doing so well. As for your question as to if I would accept a 0% raise if they left everything else as is I would probably have to say no. For the entire time I have worked there we have taken raises that were below the cost of living increases. Most years we have settled for a 2% raise when the cost of living increases have been between 3 and 5%. We did that to keep our medical as it was. We as employees of ACS know the cost of medical coverage is on the rise and dont think the company should be the only ones to take a hit on it and have done our part by taking raises that have helped cover that rise in cost. If the company were to offer an extension of the contract that just expired that has done well for both the company and the employees which has the same 2% a year raise I would sign it in a second.
Bottom line is that nobody, union or not, should have to go backwards when the company is doing very well in every area. They made record profits the last several years and the growers have gotten record beet payments the last few years and ACS has never came close to losing money. Say what you want about unions and the employees of ACS but we have went in there day after day and year after year and done our part to make that company as profitable as it is today and shouldnt have to take a hit because of it. The union and the employees of ACS have stood shoulder to shoulder with management in Washington fighting what we all thought were unfair free trade acts to help make and keep this company strong and are now getting slapped in the face for it.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 31
Dan’s not the one who is moaning. But it sure seems that you are.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 5 24
Dan, as you have worked at acs, you should still have a copy of your old contract available. You should post the sections that were changed so that all of us can compare them. I am sure many of us would really like to see what these sections are, that are constantly being brought up.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 25 2
jumangi that is all something you should have researched before coming on here bashing and taking shots at good hard working people. If you go read the contract proposal from the company all of the changed areas will have a line through the old and then it will have the new that the company wants. Surely you have at least read the contract before coming on here and calling us all greedy and lazy??? Then again after reading your comments I doubt you did.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 6 23
So, you do not have the old contract then. Well then, as myself and others have requested, post a link where we can see the OLD contract. Or, if that is not your speed to actually back what you say, then continue with your attacks and suppositions about people needing all the info when you clearly do not want to provide it. Why is that? Afraid that you might be wrong?
Be the man you say you are and post the OLD contract that WAS in effect, for everyone to read.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 22 6
How many times does t have to be pointed out for you. If you go to the link posted before like basher such as yourself you can read it all. Te old wording will be crossed out with the new wording the company wants listed below it. If you want to be an ass and good at it at least know what you are talking about before posting. As i have stated before if you want to know the real problems with the contract offer stop out at a picket line and ask!!!!! We unlike the company are more than willing t sit down and go through it all with you. You can even go to the hillsboro picket line and ask for Dan. If I am not there they will get ahold of me and I will be there before you know whats going on.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 6 18
Humor me, I did not see this supposed link. If you know where it is, then why is it so hard for you to link it again? And how am I bashing? I just do not believe the union. That is not bashing, what you are doing by calling people idiots is bashing.
Why should I have to take time out of my day and work, to stop at the picket line and get emotionally driven rhetoric? Not to mention having to make an over 100 mile round trip, wasting even more of my time and money. You do not have a job, therefore you have the time to spend 5 minutes to report the link with the old contract information in it. So, dan, get to it.
I get tired of asking you and your fellow union members to post the old contract.
It really seems that you all are content to laze around in your chairs while trying to berate and poorly intimidate people into believing your stories.
Like or Dislike: 13 2
Well dan, stop moaning and get a job! Remember, it wasn’t a good job anyhow nor about the money!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 31 14
Thats what I thought. Another empty post from someone that knows nothing about what they are talking about. Instead of taking a shot at me you should have posted about all these concessions you spoke of unless of course you were blowing smoke out your you know what. Back up your statement or be quiet.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 32
Just for the record I have considered myself lucky to have a job with decent wages and benefits over the years and all I want to do is keep it that way. Also just for the record for all of you that think we have such a sweet deal working for ACS they are always hiring so you too can get in on that sweet deal. We have seen many of you come and go over the years. Funny thing is even with such a sweet deal on the table they cant keep help for some reason. They will have 20 people apply and of that 20 you are usually lucky if 10 pass the pre employment screening and physical and drug testing. Of those 10 usually about 5 actually show up for work and of those 5 3 or 4 are usually gone within 3 months. You know what they say. Never judge a book by its cover. Dont judge the employees of ACS until you have walked in their shows and have actually worked in one of these factories. With that I am out for a while to go walk a picket line to fight for all of our rights as workers.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 15 31
It’s true, over the years ACS has almost always had job openings, and a fair amount of turnover. Must be because of the sweet deal it is to work there. I wonder why all of the people posting here about what a great deal it was did not run out there to get a job? You know, all the ones telling the union to get a job, or get back to work. I bet they are busy figuring out how to save their companies money by giving up some benefits, or forfeiting their jobs to those willing to work for less. Especially those that helped their companies see profits on the scale enjoyed by ACS.
Like or Dislike: 10 17
Get a job. You claim it was lousy conditions and isn’t about the money.
Just what I thought nothing but a lazy gang member.
Hot debate. What do you think? 27 19
Just because a company makes money doesn’t guarantee that the employee is ENTITLED to a piece of that pie!
Even though there may have been some years of small percentage wage increases, the union worker at ACS is still making pretty good money. At least the workers I know are.
I am not against this strike thing, but it seems like the Union is being UNREALISTIC! There doesn’t seem to be a lot of public sympathy out there for the ACS union worker because they appear to be looking at this from an unrealistic view. The days of guarantees is going away. Welcome to the new world called “be glad you have a job because many people do not and would be more than happy to take your place.” It is the basic law of supply and demand!
People are a bunch of cry-babies now-a-days and think they have all these RIGHTS! I don’t think an employee or a union has a right to tell their employer how to run the business. An employee without a SAY in things will feel disgruntled and might want to quit. Many employers value the SAY of the employee, but there isn’t an 11 th commandment that says “All employers shall give their employees the right to tell them how to run their business”.
If you don’t like it then quit! Otherwise, suck it up and get back to work! It doesn’t look like management is going to budge. How broke do you need to get standing on the picket line to figure that one out?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 38 17
It’s getting tiresome listening to people commenting on something they know absolutely nothing about. For example dave larsen, Do you know the difference between a strike and a lockout??
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 33
Let me ask this. Since the contract was rejected, should acs continue to allow union workers on site without a valid contract? ACS did not tell you to vote no. Acs said, “final offer”. There was no hidden meaning there. You can argue the semantics all day long between lock out and strike but bottom line is union workers refused to do the job or ratify the contract to keep working.
Acs is within their rights to lock said workers out.
In my POV, what is going on is a strike.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 30 9
Yeah! Let’s give those businesses more tax breaks! It will only help the workers!
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 2 28
I’d like to say that unions have kept the beatings down to regular hours, and they got my foal’s health insurance paid for, which will help him as he looks to enter my line of work.
Like or Dislike: 11 8
@ con me not. I called it a “strike thing” as I wasn’t really sure what to call it. The term lock-out is floating around. The management chose to lock out the employees because they DIDN’T accept the contract. That means the employees AREN’T working. Maybe they want to work, but they aren’t working. The management has a choice. Either continue with the lock-out or agree to the union demands. The employees have a choice. Either continue with the lock-out or agree to the management contract and get back to work.
My point is that there is a high unemployment rate so there is a supply of workers. The management side of this needs workers to run the plant. Since they have a supply then there is no demand for the workers. That leaves the ACS workers standing outside the gate with little to bargain with. Sooner or later the worker is going to starve to death when they cannot afford to buy food. The management has scab workers and can probably hold out a lot longer than the employees.
I don’t have to stand on either side of the gate to figure that one out.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 30 10
But do these replacement workers have the knowledge to run these 5 factories. The answer is no. Would you toss out the mechanic overhauling your car and grab someone off the street to replace him because That mechanic wanted to charge you his customary price. I know I wouldn’t. I would want my car to RUN.
I can already see the headlines in the May 2012 Forum. FARMERS HAUL OUT ROTTEN BEETS, UNABLE TO PROCESS.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 31
How do you know these people have no skill though? How do you know that the factories can’t run? How do you know that will be the headline?
I am betting that will not be the case for 1 of 2 reasons. Either the replacements DO know enough to keep things going, or the union will cave.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 29 8
Because refining sugar is a unique process. it is a hands on process not taught in any classroom. Now where in the world do you just happen to pick up 1300 experienced unemployed sugar workers?? And if you do what quality of employees would they be?? Older than sin, drug addicts ,acholics whatever. If you think management is going to teach them you are wrong. ACS’s policy has been for years that the “supervisors DON”T have to know process. They just have to know how to manage” In other words they specialize in filling out timecards.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 5 28
Well con, The factories ARE still running. How do you explain that? Apparently someone DOES know the process in the plant that is NOT union. You seem to think that these are the ONLY sugar beet plants in the world and that just is not true. I doubt it would be very hard for acs to contact other plants and have them send a few people just to train others for a period of time. You talk like only the union workers are capable of running these machines. Again, that just is not true.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 22 4
So, we seem to have a number of PRO-union people here and actual workers.
I have read many times where many of you say we do not have all the information. Now, I am sorry, but I do not have a copy of the OLD contract that was in effect. I have not found anything, and indeed, it may not be public knowledge.
Now, if you people would like us to better understand the union argument, then please post the old contract. I am sure ONE of you has it right? Or can get it correct? Your union should maintain a copy of that for your perusal at any time correct?
Please, make your position rock solid and infallible and post the old contract for us to read.
If you wish to go the extra mile, highlight the areas that are in dispute so that we may compare the language with the new contract.
If you people are in the right, as you say you are, then this would prove it, would it not?
I say again, post the old contract. We will not just believe you based on slander and cyber-bullying, but if there is hard proof, I am sure you will have our ears then.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 27 4
jumangi for the last time all you have to do is go read the contract the company proposed. As I have said before it will show you the old wording with a line through it and then it will show you what the company wants to change it to. Its really not that hard to figure out. Why are you having so much trouble with it?
Like or Dislike: 6 13
Dave Larsen management chose to lock out the workers because that was their plan the whole time. They had the scabs in the factory following around union workers trying to learn their jobs before they even offered a contract for a vote. As for your supply and demand theory good luck with that. ACS has been running short handed for years now. They cant keep new hires there to save their own butts. They cant find 15 people to fill out the staff for the factory even with the union employees there. Where do you think they are going to find 1300? These scabs are mostly from down south and have no intention of staying once the winter hits. As for who can hold out longer that remains to be seen. I do know that the longer the beets sit in piles the more losses the growers will have. They have already pushed harvest back 3 weeks from its normal starting time. I can also tell you this. The chances of management getting the factories running up to full speed with a bunch of scabs is little to none. Time is something management doesnt have. I however as an employee have all the time in the world. I have money in the bank and a good bank that is willing to work with me whatever I choose to do. I also have the ability to get another job if I choose to do so. As I have said before I have been with ACS for over 20 years and a person hates to let that much time invested go by the wayside but I will do just that before I sign the companys final offer.
Well Dan, as the factories are STILL running, maybe those “scabs” do have an idea what is going on. When the price of crystal sugar skyrockets and the factories shut down, THEN I will believe the lack of skill argument.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 26 8
The factories arent running. They have not made a single grain of sugar since the lockout.
Harvest is slated to begin October 1st as usual. That is the normal starting date. PRE-harvest was pushed back slightly. The reason for that wasn’t because of the people in the factory. It would have happened if the loyal union workers were in there as well. Pre-haul is slated to begin slightly later because if it were to begin this week (as it does some years) the beets would not be able to be lifted. The size of the beets this year is comparably smaller due to the late planting. They need to allow the beets to grow more before they harvest them or they will all fall back out of the harvester. I am assuming since you have worked at ACS you know how it all operates though.
Along with the “scabs” from down south many of the non union employees have started working with aspects due to the processing. These agriculturists and other employees know fully how the sugar process goes. I realize that the process of making sugar is complex, however before you worked in your position was there someone else there? There have been many generations of employees who have worked for ACS processing beets. You forget that there have been many before you and will be many after you. Yes, it is a learned skill, but many people can learn these skills. Before these “scabs” are ready to return south I am sure they will train others in on how to operate the factories. I am guessing by your comments that you are on the picket lines in either EGF, Hillsboro, or Drayton?
Hot debate. What do you think? 21 9
ACS’s policy on their mangement for years has been “The supervisors don’t have know process, they just have to know how to manage”. We were taught our sugar refining skills from other highly trained union personell. Most of our supervisors are newly hired with a B.S. in something other than refining sugar!!!
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 21
I can already see the Forums May 2012 headlines.
SUGARBEET GROWERS TO HAUL OUT UNPROCESSED SUGAR BEETS.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 28
First of all I as a person that lives in the area have been out in the field and have done my own inspecting. Do you really think I need some sort of college degree to go pull beets out of the ground to see if they are big enough to be lifted??? Also I have lived in this area for over 20 years. I had beet growers in my yard looking for beer before they were old enough to buy it themselves. One has even come into my yard asking me to build derby cars for him and been out in my trees cutting word for the fire in my yard. That is one thing some of you people dont understand. Many of these growers are my friends an neighbours. I have known them all of their adult life and some even before that. I hate to break it to all of you but all of the growers I know are behind the employees and are scratching their heads as to what the company is trying to do. As for where I am it is the Hilsbroro factory and I am willing to discuss it any time day or night. Stop out at the line anytime day or night and they will call me and i will be there directly to talk about it with anyone that cares to listen. I dare you to try and get Dave Berg or any member of management to do the same. All I ask is for a fair contract for myself and my fellow workers union or not. I know putting your name out on the internet is asking for trouble but that is how strongly I feel about this and I welcome your visits although I doubt many will have the balls to step up and find the real story behind all of this.
Hot debate. What do you think? 12 21
Dan, I have already asked you to post the old contract. YOU have the ability to show us these issues that are causing this mess. yet, you have not posted the old contract. Why is that? Are we just supposed to believe your impassioned pleas and your net bullying?
I have said this many times now, post the old contract so that we may all see where your union is coming from. As it is now, you have no leg to stand on. That 1 act, could sway much public opinion in your favor.
Like or Dislike: 18 7
As I have stated already the link has been posted already. If you are to lazy to scroll up and find if or even google it and find it on your own then thats your problem and not mine. I would think that since you are in here passing judgement on people who voted against it you would have already read the proposed contract.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 18
I did talk to someone in management at Crystal yesterday.
I was simply correcting your statement about harvest being delayed 3 weeks due to the lockout. Pre-haul would have been delayed if the union workers were in there as well. The beets are not big enough to harvest right now.
I really hope that some terms of agreement are reached. The farmers in the Hillsboro area may be telling you that but the majority that I have spoken to in the Moorhead district didn’t think that the contract was unfair.
No matter what both sides need to sit down and come to common grounds. Hopefully that will start tomorrow. The union needs to understand that they can not get 100% of the terms that they are asking for though…you cannot bully your employer.
Like or Dislike: 16 5
brtajajen, the beet harvest prepile is to start Sept 6. The stockpiling for winter will start around Oct.1 depending on weather.
Yes the replacements could be trained but it would take months if not longer. There is no way they could get up to full capacity and get saleable white sugar and still finish the stockpiles by spring. And who is going to train them? Our newly hired supervisors who have never run a sugar refinery before???
I can already see the forum headlines come May: FARMERS TO HAUL OUT SUGARBEETS THAT WEREN’T PROCESSED.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 6 22
Yes, I was correcting the statement of harvest being delayed 3 weeks due to the lockout. It was prehaul being delayed due to the late planting season this year…
Well..sounds like if I were crystal I would not want a disgruntled employee such as yourself back in the factory…
Like or Dislike: 11 10
Disgruntled for being truthful?? Really! You are disagreeing just to be disagreeable.
brtajajen Im sure the management you talked to was being very truthful with you. NOT!!!As for the union not getting 100% of the terms they are asking for we all know that but lets compare for just a second. The union went to the table wit 14 proposals if I remember right and the company came with 50. Now you tell me which one is being the bully. Is it the union that showed up with very few requests on a contract that has worked well for 7 years or is it the company that pretty much wanted to throw out the whole contract? Is it the employees who showed up willing to work either without a contract or work under the existing one until something could be hammered out or is it the company who hired replacement workers almost a year ago and locked out the employees to try and impose their will on them? Seems like a no brainer to me.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 21
brtajajen what makes you think these agriculturists and other employees know fully how the sugar process goes? Most of them have never lifted a finger in the process area of the plant. Most of them probably know 2 things about the process of making sugar. Dump beets in one end and sugar comes out the other end. And yes there has been many before me and there will probably be many after me at my position but up till now they all had one thing in common. They were all trained by people that had many years of doing that job. Now these people will be getting trained by supervisors that have 5 years or less in many cases of even working at the plants. Having a general knowledge of how something works and being able to actually run it are 2 very different things. A good example of that would be the engine in your car. Most people have the general knowledge of how an internal combustion engine works so does that mean they are a mechanic and could overhaul it???? Of course not. Making sugar is no different.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 7 22
As I stated above, hopefully an agreement is reached. There are many union employees that I would be fearful letting back in the factories however. I feel that they will purposely cause damage to the product as a retaliation. It is not cool to bite the hand that feeds you. Sit silently and make your union officials work for you. I commend Crystal for not bashing the employees all over the media as the former employees have done to Crystal.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 22 7
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