Scores of out-of-state strikebreakers wait on high alert in Northwest hotel rooms, ready to replace longshoremen in case of a lockout at grain terminals.
Three fully crewed, non-union tugboats protected by armed guards stand by, prepared to keep grain ships docking. In a provocative move, a California company has moored the tugs on the Willamette River near longshore Local 8′s Northwest Portland union hall.
Quietly, owners of Portland, Vancouver and Puget Sound terminals have spent months preparing for a battle royal on the waterfront, lining up troops and assets like chess pieces. The agribusiness giants have laid legal groundwork for a lockout, which could occur anytime after a Monday noon deadline.