U.S. Northwest ports brace for lockout

by World Grain Staff
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PORTLAND, OREGON, U.S. — The U.S. Coast Guard is preparing for a potential lockout of longshore workers by establishing a safety buffer zone around grain ships calling on Portland, Oregon, U.S., and Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, The Oregonian newspaper reported on Dec. 19.
The paper reported that owners of Northwest grain terminals have brought in non-union crews, in the event of a lockout.
These steps reinforce the fact that a lockout or strike is imminent, the paper said, at six of the terminals that handle a quarter of U.S. grain exports. Mediators have said that the union and employers are considering options. The longshore labor contract expired on Sept. 30.
The Coast Guard said the safety zone was needed to ensure that protestors and other river users are not injured by deep-draft vessels.
The temporary zone bars people and boats from an area 500 yards ahead of grain vessels and 200 yards beside and behind the big ships, the newspaper reported.
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