January 3, 2012



To:                   SPEEA Council Members

From:               SPEEA Legislative & Public Affairs Committee

Subject:            PRE-SUBMITTED NEW BUSINESS:  Support of locked-out Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) workers and the national corporate campaign against American Crystal Sugar



1,300 Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) workers at American Crystal Sugar facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa have been locked out of their jobs since August 1st.  The company is attempting to extract concessions from union workers that would allow outsourcing of jobs, uncertainty in health care costs, and elimination of seniority to name a few.


Despite repeated attempts by the union to end the lockout and resume negotiations, American Crystal Sugar remains unmoved in its demands. The company has brought in Minnetonka, MN-based Strom Engineering for replacement workers and other consulting services.


If American Crystal Sugar prevails, it is likely that many more companies will use this lockout tactic in future labor negotiations. This is an opportunity to make a stand against these tactics. That's why the Minnesota, North Dakota and Iowa AFL-CIO, in conjunction with the BCTGM, are launching a full-scale, national corporate campaign against American Crystal Sugar. The campaign includes the hiring of full-time staff for organizing, mobilization, and research, along with an aggressive

paid media campaign.


The goal of the campaign is to leverage public pressure on American Crystal executives and the nearly 3,000 beet growers who own the company to bring about a successful end to the lockout.  However, a campaign of this magnitude takes resources. It is estimated that an effective 30-day campaign will cost more than $160,000. Approximately one half of the funds necessary to fully activate the corporate campaign have been raised. Any financial support that we can provide to this campaign would be appreciated and well-invested.


There is a lot riding on the outcome of the lockout. If workers prevail in this dispute, it will show other companies that a lockout is an ineffective tactic.  To learn more about this Sugar Beet Ambassador program, contact Jessie McGregor at jmcgregor@aflcio.org or call 651-665-9196.


SPEEA L&PA Committee Recommendation

The SPEEA Legislative and Public Affairs Committee recommends passage of this motion.




It is moved that:  the SPEEA Council demonstrate its support for the locked-out Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers at American Crystal Sugar with a contribution of $3,000.00 to the Minnesota AFL-CIO BCTGM Action Fund.  The contribution shall be made to the Minnesota AFL-CIO, 175 Aurora Ave., St. Paul, MN 55103.