Is 'best and final' offer in fact the 'last'?

Published online: May 18, 2017 News
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The labor union for American Crystal Sugar Co. votes May 18 whether to accept a "best and final" offer from the company for a multi-year labor contract.

The farmer-owned cooperative with five factories in the Red River Valley is negotiating with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Union over a contract to replace the one that ends July 31, 2017. The contract covers about 1,200 workers. A failed negotiation ended in a union lockout in 2011 that lasted two years.

American Crystal posted its "best and final" offer on a website on the talks on May 12, after eight days of negotiations. The proposal is a five-year deal concluding July 31, 2022. It includes annual 3 percent pay raises in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and then a 2.75 percent increase in 2021. It includes a $1.25 increase in the pension in the first year of the new contract and a $10,000 lump sum death benefit.