by Grand Forks Herald
June 25, 2012 at 5:30 pm in Grand Forks Herald
What are the locked-out workers seeing about their situation that so many outside observers are missing? Continue Reading
Tags: American Crystal Sugar, Editorials, labor, lockout, Opinion, union, updates 33 Comments »
Great piece Tom. I also feel certain union members aren’t looking at this dispute objectively. They hang with their inner circle and won’t listen to outside advice. What a shame….really it is.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 92 16
Too little too late……Should have read The Art Of War and implemented the right tatics…..The CEO probably did….Many have……I don’t really know why anyone in high profile dealings wouldn’t…..Especially these leaders for the union……If you don’t treat these things like a battlefield conflict…Then it’s easy to get rolled over and eliminated…….Every union member should get a copy of the Art Of War just to see how they lost…
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 21 1
I agree….I think the leaders of the BCTGM and the AFL-CIO need to have a very serious conversation real soon about how they plan on conceding.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 24 1
Riddle me this folks………Froemke is an AFL-CIO bigwig……..the IBEW, Millwrights, Machinists, et al unions are all AFL-CIO, right???? These unions are entering ACSC plants to work so, in essence, are they not crossing BCTGM’s picket lines and themselves scabs?? (Unless, like one union scab said, he wasn’t crossing a picket line if no one is out there).
So where exactly is the solidarity??? Appears to me first it was Strom, then their neighbors, and now their union BROTHERS AND SISTERS have sided with the company.
Like or Dislike: 10 0
I’m not sure giving them a copy of the book would have done any good. After several months there are STILL a lot of them that either haven’t even read the contract offers themselves….or just don’t understand them. They want to instead rely on the creative interpretations of leaders, (and posters on these boards such as Paul), to make their determinations about how they should vote.
Keeping the membership in the dark INTENTIONALLY, and/or the union leadership NOT correcting the posts OF THEIR MEMBERS when it’s obvious they DON’T understand is something that ought to be looked into.
It’s indicative of “pushing the overall agenda”, and it’s certainly not in the best interest of the membership as a whole.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 18 3
seems to me they should drop the union and move on. I feel that the unions are partially responisble for the overinflated prices and wages mentallity that alot of people have.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 84 24
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@Sharon…”responisble for the overinflated prices and wages mentallity”
Even Henry Ford knew if the blue collar worker couldn’t afford his product, he wasn’t selling very many cars. Yes he was among the highest paying companys in his time. Even before the Union. Ford Unionized in 1941. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/ford-signs-first-contract-with-autoworkers-union. Not many people can survive on minimum wage, much less own a car.
So, if all the haves put their overinflated salaries in the bank and the have nots don’t have anything to spend. Who will keep the economy going.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 9 24
Most blue collar workers cannot afford a NEW car produced by overpaid union employees.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 32 8
Minimum wage? Where is that in the new contract offered to union workers? I like my job, but the union is making more than me and I feel I live just fine in the area. Get over yourselves and quit listening to Riskey and the other Union heads. They are still receiving a check through all this. On the other hand, do yourselves and ASCS a favor and leave the union. Go work for a successful company on your own and take pride in a job well done. The union is tired and old. Their brainwashing tactics don’t work, and the public/media is FINALLY picking up on it.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 26 6
Company screws workforce. Typical. Planned out in advance–premeditated.
“there have been no significant boycotts of American Crystal products”
There’s a significant boycott in MY home. Until Berg is fired, I’m DONE with Crystal Sugar.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 30 100
Fromke, Riskey , and Olson are getting paid out of your union dues. All the while talking the union members into fighting for the “cause”.
So who is screwing who?
How obtuse can the union rank and file be? If you to act like sheep you deserve to be sheered, so stop crying about it.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 94 22
Schurkey, I am not trying to be argumentative, but can you be more specific about how ACSC screwed the workforce? The point of the editorial is that from an objective viewpoint the general public doesn’t think that the ACSC offer is unfair. The union, until very recently, has indicated that compensation was not an issue. Yes, the employee portion of healthcare will increase, but the general public thinks the change is reasonable and the union doesn’t really seem to push this as the main sticking point. As noted by union representatives, the disagreement is primarily over seniority, which unfortunately for the union is a topic that the general public views as a negative aspect of unions. An implicit point of the article is that the union has done a terrible job of communicating what is wrong with a contract that attracts 7000 applications. Simply repeating “company screws workforce” doesn’t garner any empathy and for many people reinforces the idea that the union is lacking a valid rationale for not approving the contract. Again, I am not trying to be argumentative, but if you want me and others to join in a boycott of ACSC products we need a little more than “company screws workforce”.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 88 13
Company could have continued with Union workforce under current contract. This is routinely done; it’s not a new idea. Company locked-out workers instead. Company intended to break Union from the beginning; technically illegal but not enforceable in “this world”.
The whole point of the lockout is to bully the workforce into accepting weaker job protections and a “take-back” on the insurance which offsets the wage increase. I don’t take kindly to bullies.
Laws are stacked against the Union; while pretending to be “fair”. It’s easy for management to ride out a strike or a lockout; just hire different workers. It’s difficult for the individual workers to ride out a strike or lockout; particularly in North Dakota where unemployment insurance isn’t available to locked-out workers because of the anti-worker bias at the Legislature. It’s difficult for a Union to stay focused when every member is motivated by different goals and pressures. Management stays solid based on decisions made by one person; or a small Board. Union has to “heard cats”.
The fact that the Union for Crystal Sugar is still holding together speaks volumes for their treatment at the hands of Crystal Sugar management. They’re not brainwashed by the Union leaders, they’re holding strong against injustice done by the Company.
The Union is fighting a “race to the bottom”; mistreatment of workers by employers so common today. The Unions were started to remedy that problem; and–sooner or later–there’s gonna be a revival. Do you want the standard of living to sink to the level currently in the Third World? That’s where we’re heading now. Every “free trade” agreement made by corrupt politicians has undermined Union strengths and has helped to destroy the American Way of Life. Politicians seem more concerned about the Chinese economy than our own.
Poorly-rated. Like or Dislike: 27 81
Pony up some more union dues Riskey needs to have dome detail work done on his harley. Baaaah, Baaaah !
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 72 17
oops typo “some detail work done on his harley”
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 42 13
While passionate, your post doesn’t answer my question. I will give you the first paragraph as kind of responsive; that the company could have continued under the current contract (although the company made it clear that it was afraid of a strike). However, the rest of your post fails to support your assertion that ACSC “screwed the workforce”.
Paragraph two states that the lockout was intended to force the union to accept the contract. Yes, but if the offer is fair, how is ACSC screwing the workforce. You failed to answer the basic premise of the editorial and my question; the union has failed to articulate what is wrong with the offer.
Your third paragraph asserts that laws are stacked against the union but your references, with the exception of whether unemployment compensation is available, are simply statements that strikes and lockouts are easier for the business to endure than the workers. Other than the availability of unemployment compensation, what laws are you talking about?
Your fourth paragraph indicates that the union is holding strong against corporate injustices. Again, passionate rhetoric, but not responsive to the question raised in the editorial or my post; what is wrong with the contract?
Your fifth paragraph predicts the demise of the American worker (without support) and is again unresponsive to the question of what is unfair about the contract that was proposed.
The whole premise of the editorial was to point out that the union hasn’t done anything to rally public support. Just saying workers are getting screwed and claiming that the United States is turning into a third world country hasn’t generated public support because the general public appears to believe that the offered contract is fair. The editorial asserts that the fact 7000 people applied for the job is an indication that the contract is fair.
While your response was lengthy, only one sentence even attempts to answer the editorial; accepting weaker job protections and a “take-back” on the insurance which offsets the wage increase. Is that why the contract has been rejected? There is nothing wrong with saying “yes, that is it”, unfortunately for the union, the general public doesn’t think that is enough.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 66 10
Shurky: “Company could have continued with Union workforce under current contract. This is routinely done; it’s not a new idea. Company locked-out workers instead. Company intended to break Union from the beginning; technically illegal but not enforceable in “this world”.”
The union could have walked out while not under a contract. The company planned to have a workforce in place for the start of processing last fall, no matter who it was. The union wanted to have the extra leverage of a walk out during a campaign to better their negotiating power. The company would have none of that.
It looks like the union is doing a good job of breaking itself, the company hasn’t had to do much more to help that along. From what most outsiders can gather (myself included) is that the union keeps saying no to a contract that seems reasonable. Paying a portion of your healthcare costs? A lot of employees in many other places are paying increased amounts for healthcare, it’s hard to get sympathy over that.
As Mike S has stated elsewhere, it’s not even clear what objections the union members have with the contract offer. All the union supporters say are “it’s not about the pay”, “we don’t want to pay for our health coverage”, “corporate greed”, “the company is a bully”, “we want to work” and it all comes across as “blah, blah, blah” because they repeatedly turn down the opportunity to return to work.
Meanwhile the company has gone through a season of processing, the factories are not in ruins as predicted by the union, payments to the growers are near the highest in history, local replacement workers are being hired and the union is on the outside looking in; with little leverage left for negotiating the terms that they want. That is if they have a clear idea of what they want. It appears they prefer to be self made martyrs.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 75 12
You still didn’t answer his question and I agree with him. The one line that has me is
‘Company could have continued with Union workforce under current contract.’
When we very well know that it was the Union hope that this would happen so they could strike at campaign time so they could hold the production of the sugar over the managements head and get what they wanted..
Ultimately what you all are butthurt about is that the management out thought the union and protected the company and its shareholders.
If that is screwing the workers, then you and I have very different definitions of that term.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 71 11
Schurkey the “current” contract was not fair to the company or at least that’s how the company may have seen it. There is no better job protection then showing up on time and doing your job well. Right? The workers knew this was coming, they should have been prepared. If they were not who is to blame for that? ACS is made up of farmers who own stock in the company, they are not all rich, they are certainly not all republicans like Jeff H would like to believe, I would say the majority would be Democrats, but you all want to make a conspiracy out of this, it is almost laughable if it wasn’t so pathetic.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 54 7
Be extra careful when sugar shopping. Someone MAY have taken a cue from the union, (as in the union members cleverly placed their propaganda-laced fliers on the store shelves with the bags of sugar), and perhaps slapped “Brand X” labels on what are actually packages of the sugar you so desperately want to avoid.
Like or Dislike: 14 1
I actually thought health insurance was the elephant in the room. Nice wage increases were completely offset by insurance costs. I’d be curious if that’s not the case. By most standards, 63% is still a huge majority. Insurance most certainly must be THE problem to some.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 43 14
The bottom line Alvin is they have no insurance (unless they are at another job with bennies). Bad bennies trump no bennies 110% of the time.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 60 13
I like you Fly….I really do….but the more I read of your stuff the more I wish I had a Fly swatter in my hand while I do.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 34 9
“In a different world, the law would limit American Crystal’s long-term options. In this world, Crystal apparently can maintain its lockout indefinitely — even for years.”
In a different world, one that made sense, there would be a limit over how long ACS has to play games with the union. Three votes is decisive. They = the workers = do not want the final offer. That is their choice.
Why must ACS continue to recognize them as a factor while moving forward. There needs to be a change to the labor laws. After “X” amount of time or “X” amount of votes, the union is dissolved.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 80 19
I hope the author of this editorial doesn’t wake up with a dead horse’s head in his bed tomorrow.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 44 12
“The company, by all accounts, is moving on.” – Sums it up pretty good. Riskey and Froemke will be forced to eat their own words when the union accepts the original offer before beet season starts up.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 54 9
That will be too late, Travis. The replacements are in place and pretty much know what to do. It would appear to me that even if the union voted “yes” on July 1st, ACS would have a hard time transitioning the union people back into place in time to slice beets on September 1.
Another thought: If you were managing ACS and you had a big crop coming, which would you rather have: A – a union crew that is probably missing its best people because they have moved on, or B – a non-union crew that you can hand pick which person does which job without any grievance being filed? Both scenarios have issues but my hunch is that by Thanksgiving the non-union crew would slice more beets per day and put out better sugar. That wasn’t true last year but I think it would happen this year.
Yet another thought: If ACS has a better payment than Minn-Dak in 2013, what would that say about the national BCTGM?
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 59 10
I agree, the union has lost many of it’s best members to retirement or other companies (because they were the desirable members). Also, the union has nothing left to bargain with- each day that temporary workers are there they are getting better and better. But with the 63% rejection this time, clearly the union members are starting to figure out for themselves that this is a good deal (despite what Froemke and Riskey say).
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 5
What do they see that the rest of us dont?
Extended unemployment benefits.
Its the perfect example of whats wrong with the welfare system, you cant pay people for not working forever or they will gladly accept your money to stay home.
Had Minnesota stopped the benefits 6 months ago and these clowns been forced to pay their union dues out of pocket this would have ended exactly 6 months ago.
Look at who is still “in the fight”, its those who still have unemployment income.
This is a sham and it reflects poorly on Americans that as a society we allow this nonsense to continue.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 79 12
And Capt, the way many lib states govern, I wonder if they even require ID’s to get unemployment benefits….
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 47 9
I like the way ND does unemployment. It is there as a safety net for those who loose their job through no fault of their own. That is the way it should be. Unemployment shouldn’t be paid for those who willfully leave employment.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 56 9
ND is a right to work state and none union employees were escorted out the door with the union members and still could not get unemployment. they did not belong to the union but could not work or get unemployment, no fault of there own
Like or Dislike: 17 3
From what I can see there are not too many left that will get unemployment much longer. If I knew my free money was ending I would be voting yes. But hey, I am just an average joe off the street who pays a crap load a month for medical insurance, will not see a 15% wage increase over the next few years and makes less than most of these locked out workers. I do have a mortgage that is paid on time, as well as all of my other bills though. That counts for something to me.
Well-loved. Like or Dislike: 39 6
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