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ILWU, UGC Negotiators Reach Collective Bargaining Agreement

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Published May 6, 2022 1:50 PM by The Maritime Executive

[By: ILWU Longshore]

The negotiating committees representing Longshore workers from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 4, and management from the United Grain Corporation (UGC) have reached a collective agreement covering grain handling operations at the Port of Vancouver USA’s export grain terminal.

The announcement comes after years of tough negotiations that began in the spring of 2018, but together UGC and ILWU Local 4 were committed to keeping the supply chain moving during the pandemic. Throughout four years of negotiations both sides remained committed to ensuring their shared success. The agreement will be voted on by ILWU Local 4 in the coming weeks. The grain agreement is separate from the West Coast bargaining between the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) negotiations that will begin later this month to cover all West Coast ports.

“Negotiations are never easy, but both the union and the employer stayed committed to bargaining a successor agreement as we have for decades, and in the end we reached an agreement that maintains good jobs for U.S. workers and strong exports for U.S. farmers,” said Cam Williams, ILWU Coast Committeeman and chair of the ILWU negotiating team. “ILWU workers are proud of exporting our nation’s grain to markets around the world since the 1930’s, and ensuring that employers at our public ports generate good jobs that support our West Coast port communities.”

“UGC is committed to this region and has long sought a level playing field with other regional grain exporters, and this agreement moves us towards that,” said UGC CEO Augusto Bassanini, “throughout our shared 50-year history UGC and ILWU Local 4 have always found a way to come together because of our shared commitment to provide family-wage jobs for Longshore workers and the nearly 100 UGC employees living and working in our community,” he added. 

Bulk grain terminals in the Pacific Northwest are important to the nation’s economy, as ILWU workers handle nearly half of U.S. wheat exports and about a quarter of all grain and oilseed at nine bulk grain terminals at Oregon and Washington ports.

The ILWU Coast Longshore Division, a labor union headquartered in San Francisco, California, represents more than 22,000 men and women at West Coast ports. ILWU grainhandlers have been exporting grain from bulk grain terminals in Oregon and Washington since the 1930’s. 

UGC began exporting American grown grain products through Vancouver in 1969. It directly employs over 100 people and is also headquartered in Vancouver. Today, the Vancouver Export Terminal boasts the largest storage capacity on the West Coast and continues to drive export volumes at the Port of Vancouver USA.

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