is part of the Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

  • American Agriculturist
  • Beef Producer
  • Corn and Soybean Digest
  • Dakota Farmer
  • Delta Farm Press
  • Farm Futures
  • Farm Industry news
  • Indiana Prairie Farmer
  • Kansas Farmer
  • Michigan Farmer
  • Missouri Ruralist
  • Nebraska Farmer
  • Ohio Farmer
  • Prairie Farmer
  • Southeast Farm Press
  • Southwest Farm Press
  • The Farmer
  • Wallaces Farmer
  • Western Farm Press
  • Western Farmer Stockman
  • Wisconsin Agriculturist
Labor Tensions Threaten Pacific Northwest Grain Shipments

Labor Tensions Threaten Pacific Northwest Grain Shipments

Pacific Northwest Grain Shipping negotiations expected to continue; stakeholders fear disruption in grain handling, shipping to Asian markets

Labor tensions between workers at six major shipping terminals in the Pacific Northwest and the four grain companies that operate the terminals continued this week after workers on Monday voted down the grain industry's "last, best and final" contract proposal.

The latest proposal was filed Nov. 16. Negotiations first began in August in anticipation of the September expiration of an 80-year-old collective bargaining contract.

Pacific Northwest Grain Shipping negotiations expected to continue; stakeholders fear disruption in grain handling, shipping to Asian markets

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, which represents the workers, says Locals 4, 8, 19 and 23 – nearly 3,000 workers in total – are involved in the negotiations. The union contends that grain exporters are requesting nearly 750 concessions from dockworkers.

A vote early this week resulted in 94% of workers voting down the proposed agreement. Leal Sundet, Coast Committeeman for the ILWU, said the latest vote signaled workers' desire to bargain.

"The Grain exporters have not bargained in good faith, instead rejecting every effort by the Union to reach a compromised settlement. In essence, their 'last and final' offer was not fundamentally different than that originally presented in September," Sundet said.

On Wednesday, the owners of the grain companies said they would implement the terms of the final contract offer instead of a lock out.

Companies first involved in the negotiations include Japan-based Marubeni Corp., Japan-based Mitsui & Co., Amsterdam-based Louis Dreyfus Commodities and U.S.-based Cargill and CHS, AP reports, however they note that Cargill and CHS have broken away from the other companies to bargain separately.

According to the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service, more than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports and half of U.S. wheat exports move through the affected terminals near the Columbia River and Puget Sound.

Most commodities shipped from Northwest ports are destined for Asian markets such as Korea, Japan and China.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish