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ILWU, grain elevator firms reach tentative deal

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Northwest Grain Elevator Operators sent out the following joint news release late Wednesday afternoon:

PORTLAND, OR (Sept. 14) — The Pacific Northwest Grain Elevator Operators and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union came to agreement on a labor agreement on Wednesday. The agreement is subject to ratification by the union.

The ILWU represents 4,000 men and women on the docks and in grain terminals in Oregon and Washington. The Pacific Northwest Grain Elevator Operators consists of owners and operators of six grain export terminals in Seattle, Tacoma, and Vancouver, WA, and in Portland, OR, that are owned and/or operated by Cargill, Columbia Grain, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, CLD Pacific Grain, and United Grain Corporation. For decades, the companies have negotiated on a coordinated basis with the ILWU for labor in their grain export terminals.

The agreement is unrelated to the labor dispute involving EGT, a multinational corporation operating a new grain terminal at the Port of Longview, which refuses to sign the ILWU’s area standard agreement with other grain elevator operators along the Washington coast.

In addition to the above joint labor-management statement, the ILWU has distributed the following statement from Leal Sundet, Coast Committeeman for the ILWU Coast Longshore Division:

“This collective bargaining agreement between the union and the grain industry shows that there’s a positive relationship that meets the needs of both the workers and the employers. This productive relationship between the union and the employer maintains stability in the industry.

“The ILWU has worked together with Washington and Oregon’s grain export terminals for decades to make the Pacific Northwest one of the most productive grain export regions in the world. EGT’s foreign owners knew of this productive relationship before they built in Longview, and their attack on the union is an attempt to undermine the stability of the entire grain industry.”

For more information about the EGT dispute, see: Here’s why the Longshore workers in Longview are so angry (Sept. 8)

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