|By Charly Haley, Grand Forks Herald|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
<chron>Aug. 23--The strike is over for the
The employees planned to return to work Saturday after an 18-day strike.
An "overwhelming majority" of the about 190 unionized Simplot workers voted in favor of accepting the contract, said
The main sticking point in Simplot's original contract was a change from 8-hour shifts to 12-hour shifts without a guarantee of limits on overtime, Nowak said.
The contract accepted Friday prevents the company from keeping workers for longer than two hours past their regular 12-hour shift, he said.
The resolution came after several meetings between the union and the company, with a mediator, Nowak said.
In an emailed statement, Simplot spokesperson
Although the 12-hour shifts are being added, most employees are satisfied with the new contract's guaranteed cap on overtime, he said.
Also, union representatives previously said there was discontent with the company's changes to employees' health insurance and retirement plans. Those areas of the new contract remain the same, Nowak said, but employees are OK with it, because controlling the 12-hour shifts was the top priority.
Employees voted to go on strike
Grand Forks Simplot workers also went on strike in
Simplot is a nationwide agribusiness operation in ranching, food processing, mining, retail and fertilizer production. The Grand Forks plant processes potatoes for French fries, tater tots and hash browns.
The company was ranked No. 61 in Forbes' list of America's largest private companies. Forbes reported that the company had
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