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ILWU members from West Coast ports travel to support Kalama Export workers

ILWU members from West Coast ports from Seattle to Los Angeles convened on Nov. 8, 2017, to support workers at Kalama Export Company who are receiving substandard benefits while all other eight Northwest grain export elevators meet the industry standard. Photo by ILWU Local 21 longshoreman J.J. Burkey

ILWU members from West Coast ports from Seattle to Los Angeles convened on Nov. 8, 2017, to support workers at Kalama Export Company who are receiving substandard benefits while all other eight Northwest grain export elevators meet the industry standard. Photo by ILWU Local 21 longshoreman J.J. Burkey

Kalama Export is the only grain export terminal in the Northwest that does not provide ILWU-PMA pension and welfare benefits to its workers, but KEX’ parent company provides them to Columbia Export workers 50 miles south

KALAMA, WA (NOVEMBER 8, 2017) – In a show of solidarity with workers at Kalama Export Company (KEX), members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) traveled from several West Coast ports to show support for local Longshore workers who are three years into negotiations for a new contract with their employer. The ILWU longshore workers traveled from as far away as Tacoma and Seattle to the north, and San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angelesand Long Beach to the south to show their support.

Wearing orange shirts that read, “ILWU Grainhandlers United for Equal Benefits for KEX Workers,” elected union leaders from the ILWU International Headquarters and other West Coast ports urged Kalama Export to meet the industry standard and provide the same ILWU-PMA pension and welfare benefits that all other grain export terminals have been providing to their grainhandlers for decades – a benefit that KEX’s owner already provides to its grainhandlers at the Port of Portland, OR.

KEX at the Port of Kalama, WA, is owned by the same joint venture that owns Columbia Export Terminal (CET) 50 miles upriver in Portland, OR:
● 60.6% Japan-based Marubeni (dba Gavilon)
● 32.2% US-based Archer Daniels Midland
● 7.2% Japan-based Mitsubishi
Together these three companies call themselves Pacificor. This employer provides ILWU-PMA benefits for its grainhandlers in Portland, but not those in Kalama.

“It’s not right that the same employer has one standard for its workers in Portland but another for its workers in Kalama,” said ILWU Local 21 President Billy Roberts. “The work is the same, the hazards are the same, and the need for family health benefits and retirement security are the same. But the employer has refused, for three years at the negotiating table, to meet the industry standard on benefits. KEX needs to meet the same standard for its grainhandlers in Kalama as it already does for its grainhandlers in Portland.”

Of the nine grain export terminals in the Northwest, every one provides ILWU-PMA pension and welfare benefits to their grainhandlers, except for KEX in Kalama. The ones who do: Columbia Export Terminal (CET) in Portland, Export Grain Terminal (EGT) in Longview, Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC) in Portland, Louis Dreyfus Commodities (LDC) in Seattle, TEMCO in Portland, TEMCO in Kalama, TEMCO in Tacoma, and United Grain Company (UGC) in Vancouver, WA.

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