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WCCO | CBS Minnesota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — More than 400 American Crystal Sugars workers in North Dakota who are locked out in a contract dispute are eligible for unemployment benefits, the state Supreme Court said in a ruling issued released Tuesday.

The decision reverses a lower court’s ruling that said the workers were not eligible for benefits from Job Service North Dakota because state law prohibits unemployment insurance for workers involved in labor disputes. Nearly 1,300 American Crystal Sugar workers in North Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, have been locked out since Aug. 1, 2011, after their union rejected the cooperative’s proposed contract.

Minnesota and Iowa workers had already been allowed to collect unemployment benefits.

John Riskey, a spokesman for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union, said the ruling will mean “quite a bit” for the 420 locked-out workers in North Dakota.

“To be locked out by Crystal Sugar as…

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