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Dayton meets with both sides over sugar lockout

Dayton meets with both sides over sugar lockout Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 5, 2011 at 8:34 am

MOORHEAD, Minn. (AP) - Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is offering his time and influence to help American Crystal Sugar Co. and its approximately 1,300 locked-out workers reach a new contract deal.

Dayton said after meeting with both sides Saturday he's willing to stay involved until the four-month-old dispute is resolved. He says he brings negotiating experience gained during the state government shutdown.

Union members embraced the governor's proposal. American Crystal says the company remains interested and willing to return to the bargaining table to resume serious negotiations.

No new talks are scheduled, but negotiators have been working off and on through a federal mediator.

While company has offered 17 percent pay increases over the next five years, the union has objected to proposed higher costs for health insurance.

The lockout began Aug. 1

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