Managers of Northwest grain terminals are preparing for a longshoremen strike, with a contract expiring in five days.
Half of the nation's wheat exports flow through Portland and Puget Sound ports. To keep shipments moving, managers of four Portland-area terminals and two near Seattle are hiring security forces and making arrangements with nonunion labor in anticipation of locking out striking longshoremen, according to the Columbia River Steamship Operators Association and other sources.
Terminal operators want to model the next contract on one struck earlier this year at Export Grain Terminal in Longview, Wash., that cut costs and boosted efficiency at the expense of longshoremen's working conditions. That agreement came only after weeks of protests in which demonstrators stormed the terminal, assaulted a guard, damaged rail cars and spilled grain.
Read more at OregonLive.com.