Longshore union touts superior grain pact

first_imgThe question of who got the upper hand — labor or management — in a recent contract agreement that ended two years of strife between union dockworkers and grain export terminal operators may never be fully answered.However, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union said Monday the contract it signed with the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association — which includes United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver — is “significantly different from, and superior to” the more employer-friendly accord it signed in early 2012 with Export Grain Terminal in Longview.Unlike the situation in Longview, union workers who are dispatched to United Grain and other facilities won’t be “subject to management’s ‘pre-approved’ list,” according to a brief, paraphrased list of terms issued to The Columbian by the Longshore union.“The employers pushed for lists but didn’t get them,” Jennifer Sargent, spokeswoman for the Longshore union, said in an email. Wages are higher than what terms allow in Longview, the union said, and the “grievance machinery” — procedures used to settle workplace and contract issues — “is substantially improved over the contract” with Export Grain Terminal.During its conflict with the Longshore union, the Grain Handlers Association said it wanted new contract terms to boost its competitiveness. The association frequently cited the Export Grain Terminal contract as an example of how to achieve that goal.last_img