Vancouver grain handlers locked out

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Grain shipments through the Port of Vancouver have been halted due to a labor dispute between grain handlers and the B.C. Terminal Elevator Operators Association.

About 600 grain handlers were locked out Sunday night after they refused to vote on an offer from their employers that was put on the table late last week.

Picketing is expected to begin soon at the grain-handling areas of the Port of Vancouver, but workers insist they will not interfere with other areas of the port. A long work stoppage could back up the flow of grain from Canadian farms, however, that’s not likely to happen, according to Eric Harris, chief negotiator for the elevator operators.

He says there’s less grain than usual moving through the port this year due to the Prairie drought, and shipments can be redirected through the Prince Rupert terminals.

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