SEATTLE, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Grain shippers declared a formal
impasse in stalled contract talks with nearly 3,000 union
dockworkers at four U.S. Pacific Northwest ports on Wednesday
and moved to unilaterally impose terms of a "final" offer union
members soundly rejected days ago.
The Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers, which represents the
shipping companies and grain terminals they own, stressed the
move was not a "lockout" of workers, which had been widely
expected after management's latest contract proposal failed to
win approval. They also left open the door to further talks.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union said its
members would remain on the job, despite "the substandard
provisions of the employers' last offer," averting for now the
prospect of immediate labor unrest on the Northwest waterfront.