by Grand Forks Herald
May 30, 2012 at 2:00 am in Grand Forks Herald
Locked-out American Crystal Sugar Co. workers said Tuesday they plan to travel 200 miles by foot and hay wagon to draw attention to the 10-month-old lockout. Continue Reading
Tags: American Crystal Sugar, drayton nd, lockouts, Minnesota, moorehead mn, North Dakota, updates 61 Comments »
I didn’t expect this. This will be a great way to walk off some unwanted pounds and be great time for some reflection. Stay hydrated, it’s going to be warm by the time you get to Morehead.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 85 15
I bet they wish they had the most qualified people pulling the hay cart instead of using seniority, might get them there quicker…
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 130 21
Draw attention??? I would say most of us are tired of hearing about this. Fire your union. Take the contract offer you have and go back to work. Pretty fricking simple. It’s very clear that public opinion is not on your side.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 128 16
Have a nice trip.
No one cares.
btw, when can we quit calling them “locked out” and start calling them terminated.
Lets be realistic, they arent going to go back unless they dump the worthless Union.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 112 16
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This is a negotiation where both parties are at fault. This started way back in January over a year ago and no resolution will perhaps be found. Both parties have gone too far and long now and giving in will show there is a loser.
As everyone recalls we had the Journey for Justice that ended with a union contract in Ohio. Hopefullty this too will end with an agreement, but let me be the firt to pen this trip name as The Pilgimage for Profit!
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 11 88
This is a negotiation where both parties are at fault. This started way back in January over a year ago and no resolution will perhaps be found. Both parties have gone too far and long now and giving in will show there is a loser.
As everyone recalls we had the Journey for Justice that ended with a union contract in Ohio. Hopefullty this too will end with an agreement, but let me be the firt to pen this trip name as The Pilgrimage for Profit! (
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 8 81
Perhaps much of this have been avoided if the rank and file had asked their “leaders” “If we vote no, will you still be getting paychecks?”
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 73 12
It’s more like “The peregrination of the pig-headed”
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 66 11
How about the name “Plodding for Pity”?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 82 12
If Fromke and the other two directionally impaired leaders are showing the “hay ride for mayhem” caravan witch way to go they will end up in Canada.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 71 9
I like “Caravan for Coercion and Negligence” http://act.aflcio.org/c/174/p/salsa/event/common/public/?event_KEY=7986
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 52 9
Gene they knew the consequence of a no vote in july. American crystal intentionally gave the union an offer they couldn’t accept.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 86
I have to strongly disagree with you.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 61 7
Why don’t you keep your juvenile comments to yourself Instead of poking fun at your fellow community members. These people just want their jobs back and have the option to decide for themselves in june if american crystal is a company worth working for.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 13 66
Ron, personally I don’t think the ‘public’ is as much against the rank ‘n file folks (anymore), as they are their totally worthless, lying, mental-midget leadership.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 74 8
I have to strongly agree with you.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 13 39
Ron what are you blathering about. These people have had numerous opportunities to return to work & turned them all down.
A little difficult to play the victim card given those facts
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 67 12
Numerous times…………….ACSC has negotiated twice in 11 months. Where do you come up with numerous times??
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 14 41
It’s the I don’t “care”-a-van and the I don’t give a “hay”-wagon.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 62 8
I find it sad that some of you can make a joke of the lives of 1300 good people from the valley.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 22 65
I find it preposterous that the Union has let this go on for this long and allowed so many North Dakota members suffer.
If American Crystal Sugar takes back this union and they make any concessions.. I’ll make sure that I buy someone else’s sugar even if I have to order it over the internet. This union leadership has proven only one thing, they don’t have a clue what it takes to run a business and per the findings of NLRB have not negotiated in good faith since this started.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 70 12
There isn’t 1300 anymore, quite a few have gone back to work recently. The number is probably closer to 500. I doubt if you get 10 people from each of the 5 plants to actually complete the trek.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 48 10
1300 people had been locked out, the majority of them have moved on and are working. Some of them even quit the union and went back to ACS. It looks like those who still are not working are chosing to.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 46 4
I doubt many if any will even make the entire trip. Kind of tough to train for this from the couch… Maybe that’s what the hay wagon is for, to make the non senority do the pulling. With the numerous job openings in ND. They could’ve had a job, making money, not mooching off MN unemployment.
I see in the Herald today that one of Crystals replacement workers was arrested in a major drug case. He was a packaging lead in EGF. He also says that the arrest has not affected his job status. He has a history of drug and alchohol abuse. What happened to the pre-employment drug testing policy that was in effect before the lockout? The Union knows of other replacement workers who are now sitting in the Brig for crimes committed all the way up to armed robbery but I believe this is the first time the papers have announced their place of employment in their publication.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 15 58
Not true Gayle. There have been several stories over the preceding months about the moral character – or lack thereof – of the replacement workers.
I also remember a minor tempest in a tea pot over the lack of moral fortitude of several union members. We are not talking keying cars & other adolescent nonsense but the real stuff: alcoholism (ND # 1 past time), domestic violence, theft. In other words all the normal things you find when you gather groups of people together.
So Gayle: you are saying the good hard working people of ACS union are Lilly white? Paragons of virtue? Role models for kids everywhere? Examples of what America should be?
Are you really silly enough to build a glass house that big & then sit back & throw stones?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 67 9
He is in Drayton, not the EGF plant.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 0
Based on the union leaders that had been arrested for keying cars and spitting on people, this guy seems to fit the needs of the union leadership. Maybe he is a future union leader in training?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 42 4
Given the obesity problem in America in general & ND in particular, I would encourage this behavior with or without a labor dispute. It could be a yearly thing with teams from the various plants – chosen on the basis of seniority & qualification as outlined by the contract of course – competing to see who could raise the most money for whatever charity they are supporting that year.
On a more realistic note: what are the chances it will garner more attention than the car trip earlier this year?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 47 6
My mistake. He lives in EGF and works in Drayton.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 27 6
I really kind of take offense to your obesity statement flying nurse. The purpose of this event is to call attention to the 1300 people who have been locked out of their jobs and to have a chance to visit with the public and the growers along the way.Yes we are still here. I am far from obese. I actually weigh less now than when the lockout began. @ Eldredton. Couch time is a rarity for me. I do not waste my time sitting on the couch watching TV. I own a small farm and can always find things to do.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 18 38
Since on a farm, Then your also one of the few that know how much expenses have skyrocketed the past few years, yes there is always things to do. All Insurance, deductibles out of pocket being a reality. But They do need to eliminate the Seniority in the factories, the workers must pay their fair share of health Expenses, 17% is less than a tank of gas, A deductible is to put the responsibility if one really needs to see a doctor vs caring for one self in a healthy, safe manner and not running in for any little thing.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 7
The sun sets in the west…..
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 13
Your comment seems to be completely out of context, but it is also one of the few times I can say I agree with you.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 47 0
It’s the seven republicans that disagree with my comment that worries me. Typical Fox news viewers response-knee jerk-no thought or reason-shoot from the hip. Point made boys….
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 15 33
That is the most educated comment he has posted. In no way is it in any relation to this thread but we have to start somewhere…
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 1
Nurse, my point is who are you to poke fun at decent people that are stuck in a labor dispute. I find it disgusting that people have the gull to poke fun of 1300 people who are in an unfortunate situation.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 16 48
Let’s remember a few things here:
They chose to work at ACS
They chose to be represented by this Union
They chose there leadershi
And they chose to not accept this offer
So what can they do:
They can still choose to accept this offer
They can still choose to find a different job
They can still choose to question their leaders
They can still choose to complain about the situation
And they can still choose to not work
So why feel sorry for poking fun at those that control their own destiny.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 83 12
Ron: I am not poking fun at anyone, but I totally reject your continued use of the victim card.
At no point in this entire process was anything thrust upon the locked out workers. They made choices every single step of the way.
They voted no the first time knowing they would be locked out.
They voted no a second time and lost whatever modicum of support they had
Prayer meetings, food drives, and PR stunts do not remove the fact that the workers decided to participate in an ill advised labor action during an economic downturn.
I have said numerous times that these votes were strategic blunders. The economy is cyclical. You do not go to war (which is what this is) when the other side has all the cards.
The union decided to push back during a time the growers received record payouts. That means they had money in the bank. You would have been much smarter to wait until a very bad year when reserves were low.
The reason they could hire out of state replacement workers was because unemployment was at an all time high. If you had signed the contract this time and come back full force next time when the economy was better, you might have succeeded.
As it stands you could possibly lose your shirt: not because you are a victim but because you made two very poor choices.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 62 11
Ron….this “unfortunate situation” is only unfortunate for the 96% of the proud people that are beating their chest and praising the unity of the union!
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 44 5
It’s not 1300 anymore, many have quit the union, went back to work. However, I can’t wait to vote for the Right to Work Law where a worker does not have to be represented by any union nor bullied by them on how to vote. I know of threats going on during the vote if they didn’t vote how they were told to vote. They should be able to vote without someone watching them. Sounds like how Saddam kept getting voted in when he was in Iraq. Company official, a lawyer should be there during the vote to make sure this is not being done again.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 50 7
I don’t believe the employee that is involved in the drug ring represents the majority of american crystal workers. I kind of look down on the herald for even mentioning his employment in the original article. I would have liked to seen a seperate follow up article mentioning his past charges and how it relates to his current employment. How did crystal put this man in a lead position or any at all with his past drug related offenses? If they only hired 800 out of 7000 apps, aren’t there higher quality canidates out there? That is a seperate story from his current criminal offense.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 50 1
I don’t often agree with you ron, but I do on this point.
His position at ACS is(/was) “packaging operations lead”, and he is charged with leading a drug trafficking ring.
So is this a skill set he brought to the job? Or did he adapt his on the job training for off the job activities?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 43 0
Otis, if that’s the way you want to go through life, than go ahead and tease your fellow man. I was taught in kindergarten that it is wrong to make fun of people. I guess you did not learn that basic lesson in life.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 11 41
My point wasn’t that I am making fun of anyone. Please find any of my posts that do that.
The point I was making was that those that have the gull to make fun of the situation have every right to do so. The comments being made were not directed at any person specifically. They were directed at the leadership of this Union. They have failed to represent the people of the Valley fairly. I have posted many things in the past that prove this. Look at the Unions initial offer, there was a request for base pay increases for specific positions. The majority of the Union negotiating team fell into one of those positions. Take for example the January proposal on healthcare. The Union proposed changes that were not feasible with the IRS or with healthcare providers. This isn’t the responsibility of ACS to point these out this is the due diligence of the leadership.
The mocking comments that others are making are a direct reflection of how the Union is portraying itself.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 47 10
Instead of 1300 how about any. Yes the union leaders and union workers put themselves out there in a position to be attacked by the public. But arguing against their view is entirely different than poking fun of them or any current or former union employee. It is very juvenile and morally wrong.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 38
Otis, by all means go ahead and disagree or argue against union leadership’s proprosals and/or leadership. But don’t publicly mock/make fun of them. This is my issue with the majority of the early posts. I am not asking for sympathy but some general respect.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 34
And this is where I agree with you Ron. I’m not sure why the Herald opened up this for comment. There really isn’t enough here of substance to discuss (but you could guess there will be lots of comments anyway). They are going to have a “caravan” to try to convince the growers (the only part of the public that has any power in this discussion) to contact the board or management and sway them to negotiate more favorably.
Doesn’t seem unreasonable to me. And if they were to talk to me, I’d say they have turned down a pretty good offer and I have no interest in contacting the growers I know or the board members I know to try to support them. Probably even suggest they look more closely at what has been offered and MAKE SURE THEY UNDERSTAND IT.
Many of the comments above don’t really provide much value to the conversation. Let’s wait until June 8th and then there likely will be something to actually discuss.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 35 1
You either didn’t read my response or don’t care to believe what I wrote.
I ask again at what point have I ever made fun/mocked any of the Union members? You are correct I disagree with where the Union has lead their people. I have full respect for those that are out of work because of this lockout. The fact is why should you feel disrespected by the comments made. These comments should make you want to ask questions and want answers from leadership.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 36 5
I am not calling anyone a victim! Look at the first 15 post and tell me they aren’t poking fun at anyone. Although otis did not participate in this behavior he went on to post that he condones this kind of treatment towards other people.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 10 31
So go file a grievance. Until then, let me grab my violin and play along with you.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 40 7
Y Nurse you can’t bring the economy into this argument. Strom industries would still exist in a weak economy. They would just have to pay more to attract the “skillful” employees they employ. If this is the companies offer after “significant movement” I am scared to see what the initial offer was. This has everything to do with american crystal wanting to reform their workforce, and nothing to do with offering a “fair” offer. If they want to cut compensation in prosperus times and hire the type of people that have been applying than good for american crystal and its growers. I simply do not agree with this type of “ethics”.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 12 37
Ron: you need to go back to square one: supply & demand. It is the market that determines wages. The rarer your skills, the more you get paid. The average MD ( look up the definition of average before throwing in arguments about outliers) at Altru earns $350,000 – $500,000 a year. Their highest paid doc raked in a cool $1.4 million last year.
Since my skills are a little more mundane, I’ll bring in anywhere from $75,000 – $90,000 depending on overtime.
If ACS fails to pay at the market rate, they will have a shortage of people: no one will apply. Since they are filling the vacant positions, their wages & bennies must be at market rate.
Part of the problem is the union does not take the market into consideration. Only what they can get.
This basic lack of understanding is why they are failing in their quest for public support. ACS wages & benefits were already substantially above market.
To have the union then cry poverty was just too much for people to take
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 41 6
Ron – I challenge your ethics claim. I could probably support your argument that ACS management was not playing fairly if not for the statements they made well before the lockout started. The Union was told that they wouldn’t be working if a contract wasn’t agreed upon, http://www.acsccontracttalks.com/29.30.pdf. Secondly, how is this any different than a contract with a business? Is it unethical to not renew a contract with one company because you can get a better deal with another?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 36 4
I appreciate links such as that. Thanks.
In the other thread currently ongoing, Ron indicated that both sides have made documents available since this whole thing began. I think today’s challenge for Ron should be to provide a link to a union document that was in response to this one. Or perhaps a union document that was posted that THIS document was a response to.
Either way would do Ron. There are rules to adhere to though. Since this link was to an *official* ACS-generated document, then anything you post up needs to be an *official* union-generated document. In other words Ron, a link to a quote from a locked-out worker that’s “gone on record” as saying this whole thing is “unfair” won’t suffice. Post a link to a document that can be viewed, considered, and nudge peoples’ opinion in one way or the other based SOLELY upon its merit.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 28 1
Ron, I appreciate your passion for the “working person”. However, in my opinion your post is dependent upon an assertion/assumption that the ACSC offer is not fair, an assertion the genral public does not appear to agree with in this case. If it is a fair offer, managment’s motivation for the offer simply isn’t relevant. The Union has indicated that compensation isn’t an issue and that the primary issue is seniority (while there has been some discussion regarding the cost of health insurance I think the issue is a red herring for both sides). The general public doesn’t appear to equate the elimination of seniority with an unfair proposal.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 2
What are we now in, the 700th inning of this back and forth? What I don’t get is that early in the game the lockouts would smile and wave at the passersby and then when the “scabs” or “rats” would enter the gates the verbal and signed profanities were abundant. What’s with the Jekyll and Hyde? Don’t you think we are smarter than that not to take notice of “terrorism”? What time limit is in the law on stalking a person in their private vehicle as they enter the factories? Now you want to have a 200 mile “pity parade”. Wow! Go find a job. Mighty Casey has struck out and thanks to you the whole Valley’s in Muddville.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 51 7
Unions proprasal on the american crystal contract talk website. Right next to american crystals propeganda letters and biased letter from their lawyers about how the union was “out of line” during the january talks.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 3 26
A union caravan?
Wow! More symbolism with no substance!
No wonder they aren’t working . . . .
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 31 4
To be honest…Even though I believe in unions….I actually don’t see why something couldn’t have been reached. I can understand the slippery slope of once you give some things away more will be taken shortly after. But otherwise maybe it is time to call for new leadership in the union to deal with Crystal.
On the other hand: Why are you even staying with the union and thepossible job by this point? If they’ve prooved they can do one campaign without out the regulars, then you know they’ll do it again. It really appears they have you over a barrel and basically hold all the cards……Unless you go old school and get nasty. As long as scabs can go back an forth without feeling in danger…You don’t have a chance in hell….So you might as well bend over and do the old Animal House, “Thank you sir…Can I have another.”
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 32 4
After a year of replacement workers, does the union still claim that the new workers don’t have the “expertise” to make the plants run?
If so, I’d guess this point is due to expire on or around tomorrow.
Like or Dislike: 13 3
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