No immediate lockout, grain shippers say

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PORTLAND (AP) — Pacific Northwest grain shippers say there will be no immediate lockout at a half-dozen terminals along the Columbia River and on Puget Sound.

The owners had given the International Longshore and Warehouse Union until midnight Wednesday to accept what they describe as their “last, best and final” offer. But Pat McCormick, a spokesman for the owners, said there would be no midnight lockout. Instead, the owners will respond today to comments received from ILWU representatives about the offer.

“I don’t expect any job actions on either side in the near term,” he said.

No additional face-to-face talks have been scheduled between the union and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, the consortium of grain-shipping companies that operate facilities in Portland, Vancouver, Wash., Seattle and Tacoma.

The dispute involves six terminals that operate under a single collective bargaining agreement with the ILWU. The last contract expired Sept. 30.

The other Northwest terminals — based in the Washington cities of Longview and Kalama — operate under separate agreements with the ILWU. Representatives from the Grain Handlers Association have said since the start of negotiations that they are at a competitive disadvantage because the longshoremen at their terminals have more favorable workplace rules than those in Kalama and Longview.

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