The Associated Press July 26, 2011, 8:33AM ET

American Crystal lockout planned without contract

American Crystal Sugar says it plans to lock out its 1,300 workers at five Red River Valley sugar mills and hire replacements if a new labor agreement isn't reached by Monday.

The Moorhead-based company is the largest sugar beet producer in the U.S. It's negotiating with its union to replace a seven-year contract that expires at midnight Sunday. Local union president John Riskey says he can't remember the last time the company threatened production workers with a lockout.

The union says the company's proposal would hurt seniority rights and allow American Crystal to contract union work to outside firms. Company spokesman Brian Ingulsrud tells the Star Tribune ( http://bit.ly/pbkeZ5) the company has to have a contingency plan in place for the beet harvest which begins in mid-August.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com


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