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AMPI strike continues; no talks set

Associated Press

DAWSON, Minn. — The strike at the Associated Milk Producers Inc. plant here continued Thursday and no new talks were scheduled.

Teamsters Local 120 representative Mike Klootwyk said the union has had no contact with AMPI since the weekend, when talks fell apart. About 110 employees walked off the job at noon Tuesday, closing the plant.

He said the main issue behind the strike was a disparity between what union workers are paid at the Dawson plant compared to what they are paid at other AMPI plants.

"We’re trying to close the gap a little bit," he said.

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AMPI is a dairy farmer-owned business with 15 dairy plants employing 1,400 people in the Upper Midwest. The company says its member farms produce 5 billion pounds of milk, with annual sales of $1 billion.

Klootwyk said the strikers were prepared for a long layoff.

"We’re going to do whatever is necessary to get it done," he said. "If that means getting other facilities involved, that’s what we’re going to do."

Sheryl Meshke, a spokeswoman for New Ulm-based AMPI, said other AMPI plants in the region have increased production to compensate for the closure of the Dawson plant.

She confirmed that no new talks were scheduled.

Dawson is about 35 miles northwest of Marshall in western Minnesota.

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