Gov Inslee urges ILWU United Grain to resolve dispute

first_imgWashington Gov. Jay Inslee is urging the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and United Grain Corp. at the Port of Vancouver to settle their monthslong dispute, saying the bitter battle “has the potential of damaging the long-term reputation of Washington ports and has negatively impacted both the workers and the company.”In a July 11 letter obtained Friday by The Columbian, the Democratic governor expresses his concerns to Gary Schuld, CEO of United Grain, and Cager Clabaugh, president of the ILWU Local 4 in Vancouver. “While I appreciate the patience and restraint that both parties have shown to date, we need to have talks that lead toward developing an equitable, long-term solution to this dispute,” Inslee wrote. “I strongly encourage both sides to renew a constructive dialogue on addressing the outstanding issues. Re-engaging the federal mediator would be an important first step in this regard.”The governor’s letter underscores the gravity of the continuing standoff between local longshore workers and United Grain. The feud, part of a larger conflict in the Northwest, has attracted a review by the National Labor Relations Board, prompted letters similar to Inslee’s from national and local political leaders, and triggered concerns on the part of Eastern Washington grain growers who worry about getting their products to overseas markets.Jaime Smith, a spokeswoman for the governor, said Friday that Inslee’s letter is a reaffirmation of his hope that “both parties continue to work on this.” However, she said, it shouldn’t be taken as a ratcheting-up of his involvement in the dispute.‘Common ground’In the letter, Inslee cites a temporary contract agreement between the ILWU and Temco — an operator of grain export facilities in Portland, Tacoma and Kalama — as an example that progress can be made in Vancouver. “We know that common ground can be met with good faith bargaining as shown by the Temco agreement and hope similar negotiations and progress can be made here,” Inslee wrote.last_img

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