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Ingredion union members will be heading back to work at the company’s Cedar Rapids plant after voting Sunday to ratify a new four-year contract, ending a 175-day strike that began Aug. 1. More than 120 members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTGM) Local 100-G union cast ballots Sunday at the Teamsters Hall in Cedar Rapids, voting to approve the tentative agreement announced between the two sides Friday. “This has been a long and difficult fight for our striking members and their families,” BCTGM International president Anthony Shelton said Sunday. “With each new day on that picket line, fighting for what they deserve, our members grew in strength, courage and determination. I could not be more proud of these hard-working members who put it all out on the line to fight for a fair contract.” Recent negotiations between Ingredion and the union focused on key issues keeping the two sides apart, including proposed changes to maintenance workers’ schedules, paid vacation time and amnesty for actions by striking workers. In a news release Sunday, union officials said the new agreement with Ingredion “protects seniority rights, maintains benefits and work rules, safeguards work hours and provides wage increases.” BCTGM Local 100-G president Mike Moore said last week that assuming the contract was ratified, union workers would likely be back on the job within the next two weeks. Ingredion spokesperson Becca Hary provided a company statement on the strike's resolution Sunday night. "We are pleased that the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) has ratified the tentative agreement for a new four-year contract covering employees at our Cedar Rapids, Iowa, manufacturing facility," the statement reads. "The new contract provides increased wages, comprehensive benefits and growth opportunities for employees and reinforces our continued vital role in the community. We look forward to welcoming our employees back to Cedar Rapids and working together to ensure the best environment for all employees, the company, and the community to thrive." As recently as Jan. 13, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders had weighed in on the strike, sending a letter to Ingredion president Joseph Zallie expressing his “serious concern about Ingredion’s refusal to bargain in good faith.” Union members had also traveled to Ingredion’s headquarters in Westchester, Illinois in October to deliver a list of demands to company management. The strike that ended Sunday is the longest against Ingredion since 2004, when workers conducted a 78-day strike against the company then known as Penford Products. Another strike, in the early 1960s, involved the company, then known as Penick & Ford, proposing to eliminate double-time pay on Sunday.