ILWU, grain-terminal operators talks end quickly

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Union dockworkers and grain-terminal operators returned to the bargaining table Friday but talks quickly broke down in a dispute over a new labor contract.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union on Friday had proposed a contract based on one ratified by TEMCO grain operators and union locals in Tacoma, Kalama and Portland.

Representatives of three grain-terminal operators — United Grain Corp., Columbia Grain and Louis Dreyfus Commodities — rejected the union proposal and called on workers to provide a list of proposals based on the group’s “last, best and final offer.”

Union officials said that offer had already been rejected by 90 percent of its members and accused the grain handlers of bargaining in bad faith.

A planned second day of talks Saturday was cancelled.

United Grain, located at the Port of Vancouver, locked out 44 union dockworkers on Feb. 27 after it alleged a union official sabotaged equipment. The ILWU has denied wrongdoing.

The new round of negotiations were the first since December.