Pacific Northwest grain terminals and the International Longshore and Warehouse Union have agreed to resume contract negotiations on Oct. 29 under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.
Keeping with the agency’s policy, FMCS Director George H. Cohen stated that the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association and ILWU Locals 4, 8, 19 and 23 will resume negotiations, but he would not reveal the location where the talks will be held, nor would Cohen discuss the substantive content of the negotiations.
The ILWU contract with four grain terminals in Oregon and Washington was set to expire on Sept. 30, but as that deadline approached, both sides agreed to extend the deadline until Oct. 24.
Both parties then agreed to enlist the participation of the FMCS, and Cohen announced on Oct. 18 that the talks would resume on Oct. 29.
Earlier this year, the ILWU agreed to a contract with the newly opened EGT grain export terminal in Longview, Wash., which reportedly gives certain advantages to EGT that other grain terminals do not have.
The grain handlers’ association has stated that in order to remain competitive, the member terminals engaged in the current round of negotiations with the ILWU are seeking the same benefits enjoyed by EGT.