Workers at four US Pacific Northwest ports reject contract offer

Mon Dec 24, 2012 2:54pm EST

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Dec 24 (Reuters) - Workers at four U.S. Pacific Northwest ports voted to reject a "final" contract offer from grain shippers, their union said on Monday, setting the stage for a possible lockout.

Rich Austin, co-chairman of the negotiating committee for the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, said his union remains "committed to reaching a fair agreement" and he called for grain exporters to "return to the negotiating table."

Workers at the ports of Seattle; Portland, Oregon; Tacoma, Washington; and Vancouver, Washington, voted 93.8 percent to 6.2 percent to reject the offer, the union said. (Reporting by Julie Ingwersen, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)