In a ridiculous and tortured interpretation of existing law, the North Dakota Supreme Court ruled that locked out American Crystal Sugar workers were entitled to unemployment benefits. Because the obvious legislative intent of the current law was disregarded by the court, the legislature is going to clarify the law for them.
Senator Jerry Klein (R-Fessenden) put the amendments in yesterday.
As you can see, the changes now explicitly name lockouts in the law. Because, for the state Supreme Court, the words “work stoppage dispute of any kind” was too ambiguous.
What’s unfortunate is that this change in law won’t do anything to stop benefits from flowing to the American Cyrstal Workers engaged in the current dispute.
But generally speaking, the taxpayers of North Dakota shouldn’t be on the hook to subsidize labor disputes. When unions decide to strike, or reject contracts, they should be on their own until the dispute is settled. It’s not fair to business to have the taxpayers subsidizing the union workers’ ability to reject contracts and/or strike.