EGT and ILWU Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement

Representatives from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), EGT and LLC have today signed a collective bargaining agreement covering landside and shipside operations at EGT's grain terminal at the Port of Longview in Washington State.

The agreement, covering both production and maintenance work, establishes guidelines for a regular Longshore workforce at the facility for day-to-day operations and creates a select pool of employees who will work as needed to service incoming vessels, barges, trains and other operations at the facility.

A year ago, early talks between EGT and the ILWU broke off because the two sides were far apart on jobs in the control room, overtime pay and the total number of shift workers. The conflict escalated and led to hundreds of arrests, efforts to block EGT-bound trains and occasional violence.

ILWU President Robert McEllrath said today: "The men and women of the ILWU have crafted hundreds of collective bargaining agreements over the past several decades that have made many companies profitable while also providing family wage jobs for communities like Longview.

"This agreement between EGT and the ILWU was crafted with the goals of safety, productivity, good jobs for the community, and stability for the grain industry in mind."

ILWU Local 21 president Dan Coffman said: "Ever since the ILWU started loading this first ship, a lot of positive conversations have started taking place around town.

"People are happy to see we can all move forward now and do what we're here to do, which is work hard and support our community."

EGT CEO Larry Clarke said: "This is a positive development for EGT, the ILWU and the Longview community. 

"The five year agreement is unique on the West Coast and provides us the dedicated workforce and the flexibility to run this 21st century facility efficiently and safely. 

"We appreciate the efforts of Governor Gregoire and ILWU President McEllrath, who helped make this possible so our operations can expand economic benefits to the local community."

MUA National Secretary and ITF Dockers Chair Paddy Crumlin said both the MUA and ITF had been keeping a close eye on proceedings at Longview since the dispute flared in September last year.

"ILWU President McEllrath is to be again congratulated for standing up for the best interests of his workers in the face of enormous pressure from a co-ordinated campaign against organised labour," Mr Crumlin said.

"This dispute once again highlights the importance of dockworkers' solidarity. We'll continue to fight for fair working conditions for all ITF affiliates across the globe."