Locked-out union alleges unfair labor practice

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PORTLAND — A union local has filed an unfair labor practice claim against the owner of a Pacific Northwest grain terminal that locked out employees after alleging a worker sabotaged equipment.

The charge filed Monday against United Grain Corp. by Local 4 of the International Longshore & Warehouse Union contended the lockout was an extreme, illegal response.

The local represents roughly 200 workers who load grain and other cargo at the Port of Vancouver, Wash.

More than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through Pacific Northwest grain terminals, so any labor problem at the ports is a concern for farmers shipping their corn, soybeans and wheat to customers in Asia.

United Grain locked out longshoremen on Feb. 27 after saying Todd Walker, a member of the union bargaining team, was responsible for damaging company equipment in December.

In its filing with the National Labor Relation Board, the local said the company can’t punish all the workers for the alleged act of one person.

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