Tentative agreement in Pacific Northwest grain dispute

by World Grain Staff
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WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. — After more than two years of bargaining, the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) and Pacific Northwest grain companies have reached a tentative agreement, the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FCMS) said on Aug. 12.

The agreement is subject to ratification of ILWU members, said Scot L. Beckenbaugh, acting director of the FMCS.

“The FMCS commends both labor and management representatives for their successful negotiation and for their commitment and dedication to the process of collective bargaining. Clearly the parties maintained strongly held competing views on the many issues that divided them during this process. In the end they found a way, in the time-honored tradition of the collective bargaining process, to reach mutually agreeable solutions that will allow the employees and the employers to move forward in their relationship. Equally important to our nation, is the knowledge that this tentative agreement, subject to the approval of affected ILWU membership, represents the opportunity to ensure that grain exports important to the U.S. economy and the world will proceed without disruption for years to come.

“These were difficult and contentious negotiations to be certain. I am grateful for the professionalism and cooperation the parties exhibited in mediation process during which they were able to reach what they believe will be acceptable and mutually beneficial solutions to the issues which have separated them for so long. I especially commend the leadership demonstrated by the representatives of ILWU and the representatives of the Grain Handlers. Though fierce in their representation of their respective positions, they never lost sight of their responsibility to reach a mutually acceptable solution.”

Out of respect for the ratification process and consistent with the agency’s longstanding policy on confidentiality, FMCS will neither comment on nor disclose the terms of the agreement.

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