Bargaining committees representing International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4 longshoremen and United Grain Corporation (UGC) management have reached a tentative collective agreement covering grain handling operations at the United Grain Terminal. export from the Port of Vancouver to the United States.
This announcement comes after years of negotiations that began in the spring of 2018, during which operations continued at the terminal.
ILWU workers at Pacific Northwest bulk grain terminals handle nearly half of U.S. wheat exports and about a quarter of all grains and oilseeds at nine bulk grain terminals at Oregon ports and Washington. United Grain’s Port Vancouver USA terminal has the largest storage and elevator capacity on the US West Coast, with an annual handling capacity of 5 million tonnes.
The grain agreement is separate from the West Coast negotiations between the ILWU and the Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) negotiations which will begin later this month to cover all West Coast ports.
“Negotiations are never easy, but the union and the employer remained committed to negotiating a successor agreement as we have done for decades, and in the end we reached an agreement that keeps good jobs going for us. American workers and strong exports for American farmers,” said Cam Williams, ILWU Coastal Committee Member and Chair of the ILWU Bargaining Team. “ILWU workers are proud to have been exporting our nation’s grain to markets around the world since the 1930s and ensuring that employers at our public ports generate good jobs that support our port communities across the country. Western coast.
“UGC is committed to this region and has long sought a level playing field with other regional grain exporters, and this agreement takes us further in that direction,” said UGC CEO Augusto Bassanini. “Throughout our 50-year history together, UGC and ILWU Local 4 have always found a way to come together because of our shared commitment to providing family-wage jobs to Longshore workers and the nearly 100 employees of ‘UGC living and working in our community.’
ILWU grain handlers have been exporting grain from bulk grain terminals in Oregon and Washington since the 1930s.
UGC began exporting US-grown grain products via Vancouver in 1969 and directly employs over 100 people. Today, the Vancouver Export Terminal has the largest storage capacity on the West Coast and continues to drive export volumes to the Port of Vancouver, USA.