By Aaron Corvin, March 7, 2013, The Columbian
All work at the Port of Vancouver’s docks was halted for about an hour this morning as dockworkers showed support for their fellow union members who’ve been locked out by United Grain Corp. in a dispute over a new labor contract.
Theresa Wagner, the port’s communications manager, said all longshore workers stopped working from roughly 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. today. She said she does not have details about what specifically caused the work stoppage but it was related to the standoff between the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and United Grain.
Since then, workers have returned to their jobs and port operations have returned to normal. At the United Grain site, company managers and non-union employees are keeping the facility running.
The dispute has largely been isolated to United Grain’s export terminal at the port, where the ILWU has maintained picket lines after the company froze out 44 dockworkers on Feb. 27.
Other activities at the port are being handled by union dockworkers who are doing their jobs under a separate contract with the Pacific Maritime Association. But those dockworkers stopped working for an hour this morning, apparently in support of those protesting against United Grain.
Two other Pacific Northwest grain terminal operators are entangled in a disagreement with the union. But no lockout or strikes have occurred at Columbia Grain or Louis Dreyfus Commodities.
The ILWU has asked all three terminal operators to return to the bargaining table in light of a separate agreement the union struck with U.S.-based operator Temco. The Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association has said it’s considering how it will respond to that request this week.