Grain terminal operators, union to restart talks

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Representatives of union dockworkers and three Pacific Northwest grain terminal operators have agreed to meet for renewed contract talks with a federal mediator on Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, Wash.

The new talks would be the first since last December, when three terminal operators declared an impasse in negotiations with the International Longshore &Warehouse Union and imposed a contract that included new management-friendly workplace rules.

In late February, one operator — United Grain Corp. — locked out its union workers after alleging that a worker sabotaged equipment. The union has denied any wrongdoing by its members. Vancouver police are investigating.

The Columbian reported that grain handlers’ spokesman Pat McCormick confirms the talks. Union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent says the union is optimistic the meetings will be productive.

A fourth Northwest grain terminal negotiated a contract with the union.

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