The Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers (PNGH), an association of export grain terminals, said Thursday they have extended a deadline for acceptance of its contract offer to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) until Dec. 8.
The companies had asked for a union decision of what they said was their "last, best and final
offer" by Wednesday.
Earlier this month, the ILWU had complained the offer "demands deep concessions."
But the PNGH said union acceptance of PNGH’s offer would put in place for the six covered grain export facilities many of the same terminal operation provisions ILWU agreed to in its contract with EGT-Export Grain Terminal in Longview, Washington earlier this year, and many terms that are more favorable to the ILWU than EGT’s contract.
"PNGH’s proposed base wage offer is higher than the level paid union members under the EGT contract – and agrees to continue the same benefits that EGT has provided," the grain handlers association said. "PNGH’s proposal increases an already generous wage and benefit package. It will give ILWU members who work at their elevators a total wage and benefit package of $64.75 per hour. In exchange, PNGH has proposed work rules similar to what the ILWU agreed to with EGT earlier this year, and with Kalama Export Company (KEC) previously – work rules that ensure that elevator operators can count on employees to provide a full day’s work for a full day’s pay, and provide a means to ensure that ILWU employees will comply with the terms of the collective bargaining agreement rather than engaging in illegal work stoppages and other actions that interfere with employer operations."
The companies said the union has "attempted to misrepresent the terms of the final offer. In media statements this week, a union spokesperson used inflammatory language to attack the proposed agreement. For example, the statement erroneously portrayed the PNGH offer as a rejection of the union’s safety code. Safety has been and always will be a top priority for all the companies that are part of PNGH. The long-standing safety policies of those companies’ would not be changed by the new contract, nor would their full compliance with OSHA and maritime safety standards."
PNGH said the ILWU's contracts with EGT and KEC has given those two terminals "a clear competitive advantage" and said "it’s puzzling why the ILWU won’t agree to apply the same terms to PNGH elevators." - Chris Dupin