UPDATE 1-Dockworkers protest Columbia Grain lockout in Oregon
* Grain shipper accuses union of slowing operations
* Company has clashed with workers over contract terms
* Workers say Columbia Grain never wanted an agreement
* Protesters gather outside export terminal
By Teresa Carson
PORTLAND, Oregon, May 4 (Reuters) - Grain shipper Columbia Grain on Saturday locked out longshore workers in the U.S. Pacific Northwest in the latest escalation of a simmering labor dispute.
The company, owned by Japanese trader Marubeni Corp , said it took action because members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) were purposefully slowing operations at its terminal at the Port of Portland, a key outlet for exports to Asia.
Columbia Grain said it had contingency plans to keep operations running during the lockout.
At least 50 workers gathered in front of the terminal gates on Saturday afternoon in a peaceful protest against the lockout. Some carried blue and yellow picket signs that blasted Columbia Grain as "UNFAIR." Continued...