A total of six charges have been filed with the National Labor Relations Board by union dockworkers and United Grain Corp. at Washington’s Port of Vancouver, The Columbian reports.
Four of the charges were filed against United Grain by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on March 4, 18 and 21 and April 24, and two were filed by United Grain against the ILWU on March 13 and April 24. All of the charges allege unfair labor practices. Documents obtained by The Columbian show both parties making a range of accusations, including unlawful firings and intimidation.
Meanwhile, Pat McCormick, spokesperson for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, which represents United Grain and other grain exporters in the nine-week standoff with the ILWU, has acknowledged that the company is using replacement workers to maintain full operation at the grain export facility at the Port of Vancouver.
The ILWU and United Grain are in dispute over the terms of a new labor contract as part of a larger conflict between grain terminal operators and union dockworkers in the Pacific Northwest. The disagreement came to a head February when United Grain locked out 44 dockworkers at the port after it alleged a union official sabotaged equipment. United Grain and other terminal operators have said they need more flexibility in workplaces rules to compete on a level playing field with other grain exporters, while the union counters that the companies’ proposed contract stifles the union’s ability to represent workers on a variety of workplace manners.