American Crystal’s Decision To Lock Out Union Exonerated


The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union has been protesting a lockout by North Dakota/Minnesota-based American Crystal Sugar. The union members have been protesting ACS for some time now, shouting racial slurs at replacement workers and staging protests aimed at raising sympathy for their cause.

And many in the media, and in the halls of political power, were sympathetic. But the baker’s union just proved, in their standoff with Hostess, that American Crystal was right to resist caving in to their demands.

Hostess, which makes famous treats like Twinkies, is shutting down because their union chose to strike, putting them out of business. Due to the uncompromising greed of this union, those jobs are now lost.

American Crystal was right not to go down that path with the union.

We need to remember that the relationship between labor and capital is supposed to be voluntary, from both perspectives, and mutually beneficial. The company, be it ACS or Hostess, shouldn’t be locked into a suicide pack with the union. If the union makes unreasonable demands, the company should be able to reject them and negotiate with another group of workers.

But that’s not how the union behaves. They carry on as if they are entitled to those jobs, and nobody else. In any other context it might be called racketeering. But whatever we might call it, we need to support the right of businesses to defend themselves from unreasonable labor demands.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Too Funny

    No more twinkies? No wonder Rob is so bitter!

    • Rob

      I’ve been waiting for someone to make that joke all day.

      But c’mon. That’s too easy. Fat guy loves Twinkies?

      You’re better than that.

      • Hash

        No, Rob, you know as well as I do that most liberals aren’t better than that. They can’t have an honest debate about issues, so they resort to juvenile tactics like name-calling and personal attacks.

        • Rob

          Ha, well there are plenty among conservatives who can’t seem to debate without name-calling too.

          I was just getting a laugh out of the too-obvious joke. I get so many fat jokes aimed my way, because I am very fat, that I sometimes wish they’d get more creative. They get repetitive after a while.


    • Tim Heise

      I am fat. I do not like twinkies. Beef/Bison Jerky is a whole different story. It be a war if the union took out the cattle industry.

  • Flyby_Knight

    Well said, Rob.

  • NDConservative2011

    Refusing a 17% increase in pay over a 5 year period as well as paying only $25.00 per month for health insurance for your family sounds like a deal most everyone across America would accept. Not the union, NO NO NO. They would rather see a business shut it’s doors then to accept the contact offered to them. OH, I almost forgot, American Crystal Sugar also wishes to be able to let lazy non-productive workers go rather then keep the malcontents on the job and promote them only because they have spent years on the job, productive or not. Stupid is as stupid does.

    • Roy_Bean

      As a 40 year union member I have seen many poor managers blame unions for their lack of management skills. There are 2 sides to any agreement (quid pro quo), workers agree to get money in exchange for their time and skills. Any competent manager will have annual performance reviews and can easily document the presence or absence of the skills and the performance or nonperformance of the worker. When managers step up and prune the dead wood it is always a morale boost to the productive workers left behind if it is done properly. It’s a difficult thing for a manager to look someone in the eye and tell them it isn’t working out and it’s time to move on but that’s why they get paid the big bucks.

      • $8194357

        Divide and conquor every concievable group/cause huh Roy.
        Pick your “personal poison of choice”..
        skin color
        sexual preferance
        workers vs management
        mother nature against the evil human progress
        This has been working well since the devil gave it to the illuminist
        leftist olagarchs who financed Marx to codify and spread the agenda..
        Lucifer “first” used it on Eve to divide her from God….
        Division and blame game..
        Point at God and say…
        Look what He did to you…
        Alinsky knew..
        Marx knew…
        Illuminati UN olagarchs know..
        drive in the “wedge” of ideology/deception
        and pry like hell…

        • Roy_Bean

          I’m not sure I understand how negotiating an amount of money in exchange for a quantity of production is dividing anyone. In my case, membership in a union defines a standard of work necessary to earn a standard of living that allows me to pursue activities outside of work that are important to me and in many cases beneficial to others. For this to work out, workers have to work and managers have to manage. What I said above is that if a manager doesn’t get rid of a lazy non-productive worker it’s due as much or more to the lack of management skills than the presence of a union.

          • $8194357

            Not meant as a personal attack Roy..
            Just stating collectivisms destroying individualism
            on every front immaginable..
            Ideological root systems replacing personal accountability
            for group think collectivism..

          • JustRuss

            But this case specifically references firing practices, keeping the company from letting people go except for extreme circumstances.

        • ndoldman

          I will have to give you this one as a former U member/ steward , most managers would rather Look the other way and wine while Members would ask the union to fix the problem than depend on a manager to manage. I commend CS for standing firm on a firm and final offer. anyone not understand the meaning of those 2 words should look them up in a dictionary and than they would support CS not standing firm they would set themselves up for small strikes every contracts to squeese more and more under mining shareholder interest and continued longterm employment.

    • Jim Saget

      its morons like you that don’t no the real deal on the contract, the union did not turn down ACS Health care or the 17% increase in pay over a 5 year period, they turned down the company’s proposal on seniority rights, and the contracting of outside labor for so called special jobs. Google the facts and read the contract..and thanks for helping Heidi get elected

  • Tim Heise

    When I buy sugar. I make sure it is this kind.

    Anti-Union Sugar is sweeter.

    • The Fighting Czech

      CS sugar will never see the inside of this household again.

      • Tim Heise

        I will have to buy more then.

        • The Fighting Czech

          knock yourself out. Obamacare will help you with the diabetes problems….

          • Tim Heise

            I make to much money for Obamacare. I’ll pay for my own thanks.

          • the Fighting Czech

            You can buy all Hormel products too…. Those havent been in my household for years . you may as well get the old arteries augered out while you still can pay for it yourself.

  • JW -American

    Well lets see, ND has a Billion dollars and no real good place to invest it.

    We have sugar beets and a state owned flour mill.. Why not buy the Twinkie factory, move it to Mayville State College, close the school and use dorms for employees of the new plant.

    Then legalize Pot Like Colorado and we will have our own customer base too!

    Its a win win win win win deal!

    Unless you’re a member of the Bakers Union that is too stupid to look out for their members who are now all looking for work.

    • two_amber_lamps

      Looking for work? Bwhahahahahahaaa!! Puuuhhh-leeeeezzz! 99 weeks baby!

    • kevindf

      North Dakota is overtaxing those of us in the private sector, there IS no “surplus,” just greed of those on the state payroll!

  • JW -American

    ~I don’t remember why I cried when I heard about my cream
    filled pies

    But something touched me deep inside-

    The day the Twinkies died….

    So by bye Ding Dongs, Twinkies and Pies

    Drove my Pruis to the Whole Foods but the shelves were all

    The Wonder Bread boys sat around and just cried…

    Singing this is the day that it died, yes this is the day
    that it died

    This is the day Hostess died~

    thank you Officials at the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union

    • $8194357


  • Roy_Bean

    Pretty much every thing Hostess is loaded with sugar. The sugar component costs double due to trade restrictions that are there for the benefit of the owners of Crystal Sugar. I agree that those of us who are union members have to be mindful of the fact that we won’t get paid anything by a company that goes under but take a look at how your post plays to the 3000 non-voters who blessed us with Heidi/Harry for the next 6 years. Both sides in the ACS dispute had a hand in the end of Hostess but you only mentioned the union side and not the sugar tax that doubles the price.

  • $8194357

    Government sector union brownshirt nazis for the dem/commie agenda..

    The AFGE represents over 650,000 employees of the federal government. It is the largest union for non-postal federal employees and the largest union for D.C. workers who report directly to the mayor.

    Brian Koenig writes that the AFGE “coerces members to fork over between $14 and $16 out of each paycheck, providing the organization with up to $16 million more in revenue per year. Portions of this influx of money will go to subsidizing Democratic election campaigns and funding a number of liberal agendas.”

    Koenig went on to claim that the “union doled out $2 million on lobbying to the government largely to guarantee that federal employees get paid more to work less.”

    The Washington Times reported on the contract:

    Read more:

    Ya, it is what it is, not what ever they choose to call it..

  • Hash

    I recently spent a few days in Vegas, and I saw some of the virtues of union labor first hand. One such example I found particularly funny was the cash bar at a comedy show I attended. The line for drinks was ten people deep and the show was about to start. There were three (union) employees behind the bar, but get this. Only one of the employees was allowed to pour drinks and take money! The other two employees just pretty much stood there while the other guy worked; occassionally one of them would fill a cup with ice, and the other employee would occasionally open a bottle when one ran empty. I was fifth in line when I got in line, and it took me 15 minutes to place my order! That’s union efficiency for you. Heck, i wanted to jump behind the bar and help the guy pour drinks myself. Considering that drinks were $8-10 each, I wonder how much revenue the hotel lost just at that event due to the ridculous union rules? Wake up people!

  • cylde

    Sugar beet processors need to be close to the beet, but baked goods can be located anywhere, and the value is in the brand names that are not part of the contract which can be sold to a non-union producer. The economic production of beet sugar is partly based on cane sugar import restrictions that do not have the consumers interest reflected. Policies can change quickly.