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Simplot workers to return to work - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Simplot workers to return to work

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Simplot workers in Grand Forks have reached a contract agreement with the company.

Unionized workers have been on strike since August 4th.

"I was out there every day and I have five daughters at home," says Teamsters Local 120 member and Simplot Pack 3 Operator William Czerwonka.

He says it was hard not making any money during that time and providing for his family, but he had to take a stand. Now, people like Czerwonka can go back to work. Union members voted on the latest contract Friday afternoon.

"According to the count, it was overwhelmingly voted in. The people are happy. They're happy to go back to work," says Teamsters Local 120 Business Agent Bill Wedebrand.

He says worker shift disagreements held back the deal.

 "We needed securities that they could not keep the employees 16 or 18 hours, so we were able to negotiate that and have some good language in there to protect the employees," he says.

They'll now work 12 hour shifts capped at 14 hours and work fewer days a week. Before, they worked five 8 hour days without a cap.

"People have families, family life, day care issues and stuff like that. We needed some kind of insurance stating that would be an end in sight to their work day," says Wedebrand.

William Czerwonka says he is happy to go back to work for his family.

"Now we have closure on it and we can move on hopefully," he says.

The contract takes effect immediately, though it will take until mid-October to get shift logistics worked out. Union officials say both sides had to make compromises to come to this deal.

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