The owners of four Pacific Northwest grain terminals have informed the longshore union they will not lock them out of their jobs. Instead, they will implement the terms of their final contract offer on Thursday.
Under federal law, employers can take that step when parties reach a bargaining impasse. The last contract expired Sept. 30 and negotiations have stalled.
“This is not a lock out,” the employers said in a statement. “The companies informed the union that ILWU members are welcome to come to work under the new terms and conditions of employment.” Wednesday’s action puts the International Longshore and Warehouse Union on the spot. Its options include accepting the offer, calling for a strike or seeking further bargaining while working under the new terms.
The union is reviewing the owners’ letter, ILWU spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said in a statement. For now, employees “intend to continue working despite the substandard provisions of the employer’s last offer,” she said.