BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Democratic state lawmakers plan to ask North Dakota's unemployment agency to reconsider its refusal to pay jobless benefits to about 400 American Crystal Sugar Co. employees.

An Iowa law that has been interpreted in favor of paying benefits to American Crystal's locked-out workers in that state is almost identical to North Dakota's law, the legislators said in a letter to Darren Brostrom, Job Service North Dakota's director of unemployment insurance.

The agency's contention that the workers are ineligible for unemployment benefits "seems to us to be a perverse interpretation, intended to put the employees at a disadvantage in labor negotiations," they wrote.

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