Workers, families learn of layoffs days before holiday season

METROPOLIS, IL – Days before Thanksgiving, 170 people have been told that they will no longer have job.

Honeywell Metropolis announced Monday it’s suspending operations due to a surplus. That impacts union, non-union, and contract workers. Honeywell is one of the largest employers in Metropolis. That plant produces uranium hexafluoride, a compound used in nuclear power plants and weapons.

Union President Lorenzo Goodman said employees with the union get 60 days of pay. A union worker and father of three children said he got the call Monday telling him he’s out of work.

David Herron worked at the Honeywell plant in operations. He takes care of five other people in his home.

“Makes you feel good that you can go put in a hard day’s work in and get rewarded for it, being able to come home and give them the things they need and be able to do some activities they want without struggling every day,” Herron said.

Days before Thanksgiving and a little more than a month away from Christmas, David and his family’s holiday season will be spent figuring out what’s next for them.

“It’s the phone call you never want to get, telling you basically that your job’s going to be done away with. We still don’t know all the details of what’s going to happen. We’re just keeping our heads up and hoping for the best,” Herron said.

Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel said with the holidays coming up, the company’s decision puts workers in a tougher spot.

“We want the best that we can actually get for our families. When we can’t produce that or fulfill that obligation, it’s stressful on any family, any marriage,” McDaniel said.

While there are still questions, David is counting his blessings.

“I still feel very fortunate. I have a great family at home. They’re all healthy, so I feel really blessed. Even if I am losing my job, it’s not the end of the world,” Herron said.

A spokesperson for the company said while they do not anticipate demand to increase for that compound between now and 2020, they will “actively monitor market conditions to determine optimal conditions to support restart.”

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