PORTLAND -- A Pacific Northwest grain terminal owner has locked out longshoremen after saying an investigator determined a union leader sabotaged company equipment at the height of contentious labor problems in December.
United Grain says nonunion replacement workers will operate its Vancouver, Wash., export terminal for an "indefinite" period. The company said it fired the union leader, whom it described as a member of the bargaining team of Local 4 of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union but did not name.
United Grain CEO Gary Schuld says the sabotage "put co-workers at risk."
The union called the company's allegations unfounded, and locked-out longshoremen immediately picketed outside the terminal.
Late last year, the company was among Northwest terminal owners who declared an impasse on labor negotiations and imposed a contract that included new, management-friendly workplace rules.