PORTLAND -- The union contract between longshoremen and the companies that operate six grain terminals in the Pacific Northwest expires Sunday, threatening to disrupt the shipment of wheat, corn and soybeans to Asia.
Neither side has commented on how the daily talks are going. A spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association declined to say if there are plans to boost security or hire replacement workers if there is no deal by Monday.
The region has nine grain terminals, seven along the Columbia River and two on Puget Sound.
More than a quarter of all U.S. grain exports and nearly half of U.S. wheat exports move through these facilities.
Management wants a contract similar to what longshoremen accepted in Longview, Wash. It says the workplace rules there are "much more advantageous."