Pacific Northwest grain terminal companies and the longshore union have resumed contract talks in hopes of averting a lockout.
A federal mediator joined the sides Tuesday and another session is scheduled for Wednesday.
The Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association had given longshoremen until Dec. 8 to accept its final offer, but the deadline passed without a lockout.
The association includes the owners of terminals in Portland, Vancouver, Wash., and the Puget Sound. The contract with the International Longshore and Warehouse Union expired Sept. 30.
Other Northwest terminals — based in the Washington cities of Longview and Kalama — operate under separate agreements with the ILWU.
A quarter of all U.S. grain exports move through Northwest grain terminals. A work stoppage would affect farmers from as far away as the Midwest.