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Monday, March 4, 2013

United Grain lockout continues

The United Grain lockout of longshoremen marks its sixth day Monday at the grain terminal in Vancouver, Wash.

In the contract dispute that includes terminal owners United Grain, Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus Commodities, only United Grain has chosen to lockout workers, citing facility sabotage by an ILWU union representative. The union denies the allegation.

Vancouver police are investigating the possible crime.

"We have not brought in any replacement workers," said Pat McCormick, spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association on Sunday. "We are working with United Grain personnel only."

"Operations have resumed to a certain normality," he said. "We completed loading last night, and the ship departed last night without incident." After 44 longshoremen were locked out Wednesday, dockworkers had refused to unload a shipment of autos at the Port of Vancouver.

When asked if talks will resume, McCormick said, "I think we're (the three employer companies) meeting midweek to discuss the request from the union for a meeting."
"The folks down at the picket line are getting a lot of support from the community and people seem to really understand that the local workers are up against huge foreign corporations," said ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent in a statement Sunday. "The community appreciates the longshore workers' generosity over the years, and we're all hoping the foreign corporations will get back to the bargaining table and reach an agreement and get folks back to work."

Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jay Inslee, said Friday the governor plans to speak with the grain terminal operators, but there was not indication of the subject matter.

For more of The Columbian story: columbian.com



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