AFL-CIO endorses boycott of American Crystal Sugar - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

AFL-CIO endorses boycott of American Crystal Sugar

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The AFL-CIO has endorsed a nationwide consumer boycott of American Crystal Sugar products to protest its 14-month lockout of union workers.

The labor federation said Tuesday the boycott begins Oct. 15, but will be called off if the company returns to bargaining and concludes a contract with about 1,300 workers in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa who have been locked out since August 2011.

In a statement, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says they hope the boycott encourages Crystal Sugar to respect the workers who made it an industry leader.

The Moorhead-based sugar beet processor has offered a 17 percent pay increase over five years but is seeking concessions on seniority and job security that union workers have rejected.

No new talks are scheduled. Crystal Sugar is operating with replacement workers.

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