Citing ten months of unproductive bargaining sessions, locked-out United Steelworkers (USW) from the USA’s only uranium conversion facility at Metropolis, Illionis used their proxy shares to gain access to Honeywell International Corp. shareholders meeting yesterday for an accountability session with company executives.
USW Local 7-669 President Darrell Lillie said, “We stood before the shareholders, challenging the top managers on the millions of dollars wasted in disrespecting the bargaining process by locking us out, hiring union busting consultants, and threatening the community with unknown production standards by replacement workers in Metropolis.”
Also speaking out in the shareholders meeting was Dan Flippo, Director, USW District 9, who represents workers at several Honeywell plants in the southwest. He asked Honeywell CEO David Cote whether the standard negotiating procedure at other unionized facilities will be to lockout its workers if a new labor agreement is not reached.
A demonstration prior to the shareholders meeting was held outside of the Honeywell corporate headquarters by dozens of union activists from Honeywell production facilities across the U.S. in support of the locked-out Metropolis uranium workers. Led by N.J. State AFL-CIO President Charlie Wowkanech and USW leaders Flippo and Lillie, the event gave loud voice to the dispute that leaves unresolved issues on workplace safety, economic and seniority issues.
The USW praised participation of union leaders from England representing Honeywell workers, who were also members of the European Works Council. Ian Tonks, National Officer of the UNITE union in the UK, set up a brief accountability meeting between company executives and Local 7-669 President Lillie at the end of the shareholders session. Other UNITE-UK representatives at the shareholders meeting were: Norman Banfield of Yeovil and Alan Sole of Bournemouth.
More than $4 million in stock shares were held as proxies by USW members at the Honeywell shareholders meeting. Steve Allan, a Local 7-669 locked-out worker, attended wearing a Tyvek protection suit and respirator to raise safety concerns. John Paul Smith faced CEO Cote at the podium to challenge his 54% increase in executive compensation, bringing it to $20 million, while seeking takeaways for the Metropolis workers. Cote’s snarky reply: “I think it’s fair all the way around.”
The Metropolis uranium processing plant is part of the company’s specialty materials division. About 228 production workers at the Honeywell-Metropolis plant have been off work since the lockout began Jun. 28, 2010. Little progress was reported at the last USW contract negotiating session with Honeywell held in Metropolis on Apr. 18-20.
Click here for updates of the lock out.
USW and Honeywell’s Battlefield: A Uranium Conversion Plant