The federal mediator overseeing contract negotiations between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and six grain terminal operators in the Pacific Northwest said two days of talks concluded Wednesday with no settlement.
In a brief statement, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service said the ILWU and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association require additional time to review their options. No additional meetings are scheduled, and no further information on the negotiations will be released, the mediation service stated.
Longshoremen have been working without a contract at six grain-export terminals in Oregon and Washington since their contract expired on Sept. 30. The parties agreed to extend the contract until Dec. 8. When that deadline came and went, the parties agreed seek federal mediation.
Negotiations have been difficult because the employers say they must have a contract similar to the agreement signed this year between the ILWU and the newly opened EGT export terminal in Longview, Wash.
That agreement was reached after months of demonstrations that resulted in the arrest of dozens of longshoremen. The six employers say they require a similar contract in order to remain competitive with EGT. The ILWU has resisted the employers’ proposed contract, which has provisions that are more favorable to the employers than previous ILWU grain contracts with other terminals in the region.