September 30, 2014
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - American Crystal Sugar Co. workers have rejected a contract for the fourth time.
The workers have been locked out of their jobs for 16 months. Union officials said in a release Saturday night that workers voted 55 percent to reject management's contract offer.
The lockout originally affected about 1,300 workers, but more than 500 have left since then.
Contract opponents say the proposal cuts health care benefits and weakens job security. The company says the offer would raise worker pay by 17 percent over five years.
Last year, more than 90 percent of the workers rejected the contract. In June, it was turned down with a 63 percent vote.
American Crystal runs five sugar beet processing plants in North Dakota and Minnesota. It is the nation's largest sugar beet processor.
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