Crystal Sugar, union returning to bargaining table 05 Jun 12

FARGO, N.D. (AP) – Locked-out union workers at American Crystal Sugar Co. are in the middle of a 200-mile trek to the negotiating table, but the company says it could be a long walk for a short meeting.

The lockout affects about 1,300 union workers at Crystal sugar beet processing plants in three states. Union workers are walking from Drayton to Moorhead, Minn., to highlight their cause.

The two sides are set to resume talks Friday after the union asked a federal mediator to call the meeting. It has been more than 10 months since the lockout started and more than four months than the two sides last met.

Union spokesman John Riskey says he hopes the company will “cooperate and negotiate.” Company spokesman Brian Ingulsrud says the company’s last contract offer stands.