After a nearly two-year labor dispute and recent escalation in tension, United Grain Corp. and the International Longshore & Warehouse Union on Monday, August 11, reached a tentative agreement to resume grain inspections at the Port of Vancouver. Washington state inspectors halted inspection on July 1 citing that they were enabling the dispute to continue and that there were safety concerns due to the mounting frustrations between the two groups involved. Washington Department of Agriculture inspectors resumed grain inspections at 1:10 p.m. Tuesday, August 12 at the port easing fears in the grain industry.
The situation recently garnered national attention as the 2014 wheat harvest commenced and the lack of inspection started causing a grain backlog.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack recently commented on the situation saying that it was primarily safety that stopped the inspections.
“Washington State inspectors have basically been pulled because of safety concerns,” he explained. “And it gets incumbent upon me to make sure that any decision we make relative to inspectors is done with the safety of those inspectors in mind.”
“I know that there is increased traffic in a number of other ports where this is not an issue,” Vilsack continued. “Hopefully this gets worked out and we’re not going to be confronted with putting folks in an unsafe circumstance and condition.”