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Simplot potato workers on strike in Grand Forks

GRAND FORKS (KFGO-AM) -- Nearly 200 union employees at the J.R. Simplot, potato processing plant in Grand Forks are on strike after rejecting the company’s contract offer.

The plant processes french fries and other potato products for fast food restaurants across the country.

A union leader says one of the biggest sticking points is hours. The new contract would move them from 5, eight-hour days to 4, 12-hour shifts. He says the company has proposed a major increase in the health care premiums. Plus, it plans to quit its pension plan and move all employees to 401-k plans.

Company officials could not be reached for comment.