The top three officials of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union will meet next month with the Asian partners of the EGT grain terminal to negotiate with the owners to use union labor, ILWU officials said Friday.
In the meantime, ILWU Local 21 held another informational picket Friday afternoon in Longview near the south end of Lake Sacajawea, demanding work at the $200 million terminal at the Port of Longview.
The San Francisco-based ILWU is sending President Bob McEllrath, Vice President Ray Familathe and Vice President Wesley Furtado to Asia next month to discuss the contract dispute with representatives of Pan Ocean STX and Japan-based Itochu Corp., said Dan Coffman, president of Longview-based Local 21. Pan Ocean and Itochu are minority partners in the venture.
The union also requested a meeting with St. Louis-based Bunge North America, the majority partner, but has not received a response, Coffman said Friday.
The union held a similar informational picket May 20 at the same location in Longview. On June 3, more than 1,000 ILWU supporters protested the grain terminal outside EGT's headquarters in downtown Portland.
Contract talks between the union and EGT broke down about three months ago, and company officials say they plan to open the terminal this summer and employ about 50 workers, likely non-union.
In January, EGT sued the port in federal court, arguing that the company was not bound by the port's contract with ILWU local 21 to hire union members. EGT attorneys said union labor would increase their annual costs of operating the elevator by $1 million.
The Port of Longview is asking a U.S. District Court judge to require EGT to hire union labor, which the company says would add about $1 million annually to its operation costs. ILWU attorneys are also seeking to join the lawsuit.
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