Last week Minnesota Mark Dayton claimed to have won an agreement for continuous, day-and-night negotiations between American Crystal management and the union. He sent out a letter and a press release calling on both sides to convene under his guidance.
The problem? Well, it’s pretty clear that the folks at American Crystal never actually agreed to any such thing. The company has been silent since Dayton injected himself into the proceedings, and now federal officials are telling the governor to butt out as the law requires any talks to be voluntary and entered into freely by both sides.
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton won’t be convening any labor contract talks anytime soon between American Crystal Sugar Co. and its locked out union employees.
In fact, Dayton has been asked by federal officials not to talk about the labor dispute, according to his press spokeswoman. …
Dayton’s spokeswoman, Katharine Tinucci, confirmed nothing has been set up.
“The Governor has been asked by the federal officials to withhold comment for the time being,” Tinucci told the Herald in an email Monday. “However, he is ready and willing to go to Moorhead, whenever both sides agree to his presence there.”
John Arnold, spokesman for the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service in Washington, told the Herald last week that participation by companies and unions in such mediation is voluntary and requires both parties to agree to meet.
In other words, the unions tried to get Dayton (who is thoroughly in their pockets) to bully American Crystal into a sort of locked-room negotiation situation, but Dayton handled it so ham-handedly that he’s now being pushed out by the feds.
Keep in mind that the activists at the Fargo Forum were trying to push Governor Jack Dalrymple to get involved in a similar fashion and Dalrymple, rightly, demurred.
American Crystal would be crazy to go into these sort of negotiations with the union. They’ve already put multiple iterations of an offer on the table, and the union has rejected them all without conceding anything. At this point the company is now hiring replacement workers under the guidelines of the last contract offered the union workers. Their need for the union workers is diminishing every day.
That’s how free labor markets are supposed to work.