Pacific Northwest grain terminal owners are readying for a strike or lockout as the longshore union weighs what the owners describe as their "last, best and final" contract offer.
The owners planned to meet Wednesday afternoon, hours before the midnight deadline they have imposed on the union to OK the offer.
The Northwest has nine grain terminals along the Columbia River and Puget Sound. Six of the terminals operate under a single collective bargaining agreement with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. That deal expired Sept. 30.
Salary and benefits have not been the holdup in negotiations. Rather, the owners want to implement workplace rules they consider more advantageous.
Union spokeswoman Jennifer Sargent said Wednesday that lowering job standards is not the right direction for the country.