Locked-out workers and families receive generous support from unions, individuals

Locked-out workers and families receive generous support from unions, individuals;Teamsters and Laborers trucks bring toys and food from St. Paul.  As the lockout’s second Christmas approaches, food and toys and financial contributions have been pouring in to the Red River Valley in support of workers and their families whom Crystal Sugar Company shut out from their jobs over 16 months ago.

Most recently Teamsters and Laborers union semis have been delivering donated toys and food, this week, in Fargo, Grand Forks, Hillsboro, Crookston, and Drayton. A delivery was also made to locked-out Crystal Sugar workers in Mason City, Iowa. The food and toys were collected by Operation Christmas Solidarity, sponsored by the Saint Paul Regional Labor Federation and American Income Life. Union volunteers are unloading the trucks at each stop.

“We started the Christmas food drive in November,” said Deb Kostrzewski, food and toy drive coordinator for BCTGM Local 167G and herself a locked-out worker. “And we’ve received so many generous donations from people, unions and other organizations up and down the Valley – all over the country, really. We truly appreciate what American Income Life and the St. Paul Labor Federation and the Laborers and Teamsters are doing this week, and what our own national union, other BCTGM locals, the AFL-CIO and unions like the United Steelworkers, letter carriers, AFSCME and the teachers and so many others keep on doing to help us keep up our fight for dignity and justice.”

Erica Dalager, an American Income Life representative who helped with the deliveries said, “These workers are people. They have families, children, and real needs. American Income Life and The St. Paul Regional Labor Federation, Laborers District Council, Teamsters Joint Council and several other labor unions, are committed to brightening the holidays for the locked out workers and their families. 

St. Paul Regional Labor Federation President Bobby Kasper stated, “Even though we’re several hundred miles away from our locked-out brothers and sisters, we are thinking of you. We will do everything in our power, 24-7, to help you through these difficult times.”

Dalager went on to say, “Corporations that sweeten their bottom line at the expense of workers should be held accountable for the destruction and havoc they cause in our communities. There is a better way: Companies, unions, community allies, working families can unite for a simple cause - taking care of those in need. Solidarity, how sweet it is.”

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 American Crystal Sugar has processing plants in East Grand Forks, Crookston, and Moorhead, Minn.; Hillsboro and Drayton, N.D.; and packaging and transportation sites in Chaska, Minn. and Mason City, Iowa. Workers at these facilities are represented by BCTGM Locals 167G (Grand Forks, N.D.), 265G (Chaska), 267G (Crookston), 269G (Mason City) and 372G (Hillsboro, N.D.).