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Vol. 76/No. 13      April 2, 2012


Journey to picket lines of
locked-out sugar workers

I recently completed a 1,700-mile journey to the picket lines of the BCTGM sugar beet workers locked-out by Crystal Sugar.

I met so many courageous people—from the picketers in Hillsboro who clear the snow away after the company piles it up, to the husband and wife owners of the Hillsboro Inn who refuse to take down their sign of support for the workers, even after several businesses have done so for fear of their livelihood.

I stayed at the Inn and watched as a scab was turned away. They don’t allow scabs.

I was at Chaska, Minn., when the BCTGM/United Steelworkers caravan [Feb. 22 to 27] came through on their way to Findlay, Ohio, where USW workers were locked out by Cooper Tire (and have since returned to work). There was support from many unions there to send them off.

In Grand Forks I joined a determined group at scab change and we gave the job stealers hell as they slimed across the picket line.

The next day in Drayton, as the temperature dipped below zero, I was a little disappointed as I picketed for about an hour by myself and left a note in their shack from our union. I didn’t want to leave town without speaking to someone so I knocked on a door of a locked-out sugar worker who insisted on taking me to meet Vice President Brad Nelson.

I was totally surprised to see about 20 workers unloading food from the Teamsters semi which was at Chaska a couple of days before. Many were there from Grand Forks who I picketed with the night before. This made my day.

I thank my union and the Lee County Labor Council for sending me to stand with these brothers and sisters. If you are in their area please join this fight by giving some time on the line.

If you aren’t close and you or your union don’t have the funds to make it to the front lines, send what you can.

An Injury To One Is An Injury To All.

In Solidarity,

Buddy Howard
President Lee County Labor Council, member BCTGM 48G

Related articles:
Sugar workers press fight on several fronts
American Crystal maintains lockout of 1,300
12-hour shifts underground ‘not safe,’ say Arizona miners
Deal lets bosses off hook in 2007 Utah mine deaths
On the Picket Line
Class struggle, union power is answer to ‘right-to-work’
Atlanta rally protests state law attacking freedom of speech  
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