Grain talks resume under federal mediator's watch

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Pacific Northwest grain terminal companies and the Longshore union have resumed contract talks in hopes of averting a lockout. A federal mediator joined the sides Tuesday; another session is scheduled for today.

The Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association had given longshoremen until Dec. 8 to accept its final offer, but the deadline passed without a lockout.

The association includes the owners of terminals in Vancouver, Portland and the Puget Sound. The contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired Sept. 30.

Longview and Kalama terminals have separate agreements with the ILWU.

A quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through Northwest terminals.