The owners of four Pacific Northwest grain terminals have informed the longshore union they will not lock them out of their jobs. Instead, they will implement the terms of their last, best and final contract offer on Thursday.
Under federal law, employers can take that step when parties reach a bargaining impasse. The last contract expired Sept. 30 and negotiations have stalled.
Wednesday's action puts the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on the spot. Its options include accepting the offer, calling for a strike or seeking further bargaining while working under the new terms.
ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said the union is reviewing the owners' letter, but longshore workers intend to continue working for now.
The contract dispute involves grain terminals in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, Wash.
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