Dangerous Honeywell Uranium Plant Still Operating with Untrained Scabs
More than a year has passed since workers at the Honeywell uranium conversion plant in Metropolis, Illinois were locked out of their jobs. The locked out workers – who are members of United Steel Workers local 7-669 – were not seeking higher pay or better benefits; they wanted simply to keep what they had won in previous contracts.
The conglomerate mega-corporation operating the plant, Honeywell International, had other ideas. After the contract expired, they forced the union workers off the job, demanding givebacks on pensions, seniority, work rules, and retiree health care.
These demands for worker concessions were not the result of bad economic times. Honeywell, like most other corporations, is still posting enormous profits. In fact, just one month after the Metropolis workers were locked out, Honeywell reported a 4% increase in quarterly profits over the year before.
Despite its rising profits, Honeywell has decided to scrape more money off the back of its workers, perhaps so it can pay the grotesque and rising $9.74 million salary of its CEO David Cote. In the Honeywell lockout case, we see a continuation of the disturbing company practices most notably put on display in the Mott’s strike in Williamson, NY last year. Companies like Mott’s and Honeywell are not demanding concessions because they are sinking, but just because they feel like they can get away with it.
For the workers and community of Metropolis, Illinois, this gamble is an incredibly dangerous one. The scabs that Honeywell has shipped in to replace the experienced USW rank and file are not nearly as well-trained or competent as the union workers. By bringing in inexperienced scabs to work in a plant with dangerous nuclear chemicals, Honeywell is imperiling the lives of the replacement workers and the local residents.
Since the lockout began, the plant has already been cited for 20 violations by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The company also pled guilty to storing hazardous waste without a permit at the Metropolis site, and paid an $11.8 million dollar fine just three months ago.
Honeywell’s dangerous game of profit maximizing at any cost to the lives and well-being of nearby families could easily end in tragedy if this lockout is not ended.
Jobs with Justice stands in solidarity with the members of USW local 7-669 and the Metropolis community, and encourages others to join the fight against Honeywell’s outrageous disregard for safety and fair labor standards. You can show your support for the workers by joining their Facebook page and stay updated on what you can do.