Union Hopes Crystal CEO Reconsiders Meeting

GRAND FORKS, N.D. (AP) — Union leaders say they hope American Crystal Sugar Co. chief executive Dave Berg will reconsider his decision to skip a community meeting about the company's extended worker lockout.

The meeting is scheduled Aug. 18 at the American Legion hall in East Grand Forks, Minn. Organizers say it's open to sugar beet growers, company shareholders, workers and managers. It will be moderated by former North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Sarah Vogel.

About 1,300 Crystal workers have been locked out of their jobs for more than a year at facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa.

The company imposed the lockout after contract negotiations broke down. Union members have voted three times to reject what the company says is its final offer. Union officials say the contract weakens seniority and job security rights.