Vancouver picket line unnerves state inspectors

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Washington state Department of Agriculture grain inspectors say they feel unsafe crossing a picket line at a Port of Vancouver union protest.

The Columbian reports the department said it will soon stop providing grain inspections services at United Grain Corp.’s facility unless steps are taken to improve security for inspectors crossing the picket line led by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union.

State Department of Agriculture director Don Hover wrote in an Aug. 19 letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture that staffers are opting not to cross by the picketers.

Hover’s letter is another episode to the continuing standoff between the longshore workers and United Grain.

Hover says inspectors don’t feel like the port can provide security, describing one episode in which a protester opened a car door, yelled obscenities and kicked the door of an inspector’s vehicle.

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