Thursday, September 15, 2011

ILWU Reaches Labor Agreement With PacNW Grain Operators

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Northwest Grain Elevator Operators (PNGEO) on Wednesday reached agreement on a labor agreement, officials from both sides announced.

The agreement covers six grain facilities in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver that are owned or operated by PNGEO members Cargill, CLD Pacific Grain, Columbia Grain, Louis Dreyfus Commodities, and United Grain.

Noticeably missing from the agreement is EGT Development, the operator of a new $200 million grain terminal at the Port of Longview that has been locked in a contentious labor battle with the ILWU since the summer.

The ILWU/PNGEO agreement effectively isolates EGT, making the Longview operator the only grain export facility in the region without a labor agreement with the ILWU.

The agreement announced Wednesday, which covers wages, benefits, staffing and other issues, remains subject to ratification by 4,000 members of the ILWU in the Oregon and Washington areas. A ratification vote is expected in the next several weeks.
Specific terms of the agreement were not released.

"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," ILWU’s coast committeeman Leal Sundet said in a statement.

"This productive relationship between the union and the employer maintains stability in the industry."