PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- With a new deadline looming, Democratic lawmakers from the Northwest are urging union dock workers and grain terminal owners to keep contract negotiations going.
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington and others sent a letter Friday to the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association, saying any interruption of grain exports would hurt the region's economy.
The owners of a half dozen grain terminals along the Columbia River and in Puget Sound have given the union until Saturday to accept a final offer. The main issue is work rules.
A spokesman for the terminal owners says they are still waiting for a response from the union and have no plans for a lockout.
There was no immediate reply from the union.
Copyright 2012 The AP.