On April 13, union members of the BCTGM approved a new contract, twenty months after their employer, American Crystal, had locked them out. It was their fifth vote, which returned a 55 percent approval. Some 1,300 workers had been out of work since August 2011, many of whom have left the job or retired.
The new contract runs until July 2017, and provides a 13 percent wage increase over the four years of the contract: 4 percent the first year, 3 percent the second and 2 percent the remaining years. Workers had originally rejected the company’s proposal with provisions that affected their seniority and job security. They are represented by BCTGM Local 167-G.
American Crystal is a cooperative owned by about 2,800 sugar beet growers. It is the US largest sugar beet processor, with factories in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa.