After a bill to expand North Dakota’s unemployment benefits to locked out American Crystal Sugar workers failed during the special legislative session held in late 2011, Democrats vowed to introduce it in the regular session.
That bill, SB2224, has been introduced. If passed, the law would continue to deny unemployment benefits to striking workers but would allow them for a worker who “has been locked out by that individual’s employer and prevented from working for that employer.”
It’s good that the law doesn’t apply to striking employees, but applying it to locked out workers is no better. The taxpayers ought not be asked to subsidize these labor disputes at all, and the American Crystal dispute is a good example of why.
The ACS workers may as well be on strike after consistently rejecting one contract after another from American Crystal. The union even filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board which backfired after the NLRB conclude that it was the union, and not ACS, who wasn’t negotiating in good faith.
The union tried to draw a line in the sand with ACS, and it hasn’t worked. As of right now, it appears as though the workers will never be going back to work at ACS, but that was their choice. The union workers voted to reject the contracts.
The taxpayers needn’t pay for their decision.