A union leader representing locked-out American Crystal Sugar workers said 420 of them are eligible for unemployment benefits, made possible by a North Dakota Supreme Court decision Tuesday, and he is asking the state tell them soon when payments will come.
A handful of locked-out American Crystal employees addressed the issue with lawmakers during the first hearing of Senate Bill 2224, sponsored by Sen. Murphy, which would clarify current law and extend unemployment insurance benefits to an individual that has been locked out and prevented from working.
Lockout. It’s a word we’re all too familiar with in Minnesota. First, let’s be clear what a lockout is: It’s the opposite of a strike. The employer withholds work in order to gain concessions from workers.
The NHL appears headed toward a 48-game season for the second time in two decades. "I think 48 is most likely at this point, unless the players can expedite their ratification process," NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly wrote in an email Monday to The Associated Press.
American Crystal Sugar management is expecting locked-out union workers to vote again on a labor contract in a little more than a week. In the past thre votes, including the one that led to the workers' lockout Aug. 1, union members have voted overwhelmingly against the contract.
Sugar beet farmers in the Red River Valley are busy harvesting a bumper crop this fall, the second harvest since American Crystal Sugar locked 1,300 union workers out of its five factories in a labor dispute. Unions hope a national consumer boycott against Crystal Sugar will pressure the company to settle, but the beet farmers who own the American Crystal Sugar cooperative are not feeling that pressure.
Once upon a time, the notion of booting employees off the job in a lockout was so rare it was closer to myth than reality, according to UND business professor Bruce Byars. Today, the tactic is a well-honed weapon in the corporate arsenal, readily deployed against everyone from sugar beet processors to professional hockey players.
With 82 percent of Bakery Workers union members voting, 63 percent voted against the contract. The labor dispute has been ongoing since July 31 when members first voted on the contract. Since then, about 1,300 workers have been locked out and management has hired temporary replacement workers.
“We hope there will be negotiations; the last few times we met, they just listened,” said John Riskey, president of Local 167G, which represents locked-out workers at Crystal plants in East Grand Forks, Drayton, N.D., and Moorhead.
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