American Crystal’s Good Faith Negotiations Affirmed

MOORHEAD, Minn. — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has dismissed the charge by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 167G that American Crystal Sugar Company failed to negotiate in good faith. In dismissing the charge, the NLRB cited several specific examples of American Crystal’s efforts to negotiate in good faith as well as examples of the BCTGM’s unwillingness to negotiate.

“Throughout the bargaining process, we have committed to good faith negotiations in the interest of reaching a fair agreement with our employees,” said Brian Inguslrud, Vice President for Administration at American Crystal Sugar Company. “The National Labor Relations Board’s dismissal of the union’s charges clearly affirms that we have acted with transparency, clarity and willingness to compromise.”

The NLRB cited the following explanations for dismissing the BCTGM’s charge:

The Employer clearly laid out its objectives at the start of bargaining. The Union “repeatedly refused to consider the Employer’s proposals, and made virtually no counterproposals to address the Employer’s objectives.”
The Employer significantly modified the subcontracting language in one of its last proposals prior to the lockout. “The modification was consistent with what the Employer claimed was past practice, and there is no evidence suggesting that the Union disagreed with the Employer regarding the past practice.”
The Employer satisfied all information requests made by the Union.
The Employer’s last two proposals before the lockout contained “significant movement” by the Employer. “The economics of its final two offers do not reflect bad-faith bargaining, and the last two proposals also included significant concessions on noneconomic items. The Employer’s significant movement is particularly relevant because the Union made few (if any) concessions.””American Crystal made a final offer to the union on July 28. The offer included significant pay increases over the life of the contract even when factoring in changes to the health care plan and increased pension contributions. The union rejected the Company’s final offer.

“Successful negotiations are based on reasonable give and take by both parties,” added Ingulsrud. “As this ruling clarified, we’ve been willing to negotiate but the union hasn’t shown the same willingness.”

To review the letter from the National Labor Relations Board, go to www.acsccontracttalks.com.

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