Steel workers, Honeywell prepare for labor negotiations
METROPOLIS, IL -
When workers at the Honeywell plant in Metropolis punch the clock they are dealing with some of the most dangerous materials in the world, including uranium.
Safety and health concerns have led to bitter contract disputes in the past between the company and its union employees.
The current deal is set to expire August 1, 2014.
You might remember back in 2010 when differences on a labor deal led Honeywell to lockout hundreds of members of the United Steel Workers Union for 14 months, and bring in replacement workers from across the country to operate the plant.
That lockout is still on the minds of both parties as they enter into negotiations on a new labor deal.
"It's a dangerous plant,” said United Steel Workers Local 7-669 spokesman John Paul Smith. “One of the things we're going to be discussing in negotiations is health and safety."
As one of the largest employers in Massac County a potential strike at Honeywell could be disastrous to the local economy just like the 14 month lockout according to Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel.
"It affected every business in our community," said Metropolis Mayor Billy McDaniel.
A community McDaniel says is finally recovering from the previous lockout and a number of natural disasters.
"We've had a tornado, we've had a flood, and each and every time things get better something else happens,” said McDaniel. “We certainly don't want a disruption in the workforce at Honeywell to start a negative cycle again.”
"Our local union is committed to being reasonable, fair, and bargaining in good faith and the fact of the matter is the company is going to have to do the same," said Smith.
Negotiations between the two sides are set to begin on July 21st, 2014.
Honeywell sent out this statement in response to the upcoming negotiations:"Honeywell is committed to bargaining with the union in good faith, with the goal of achieving a new labor contract that is fair and equitable to employees while continuing to position the facility for long-term sustainability in an increasingly challenging and competitive global marketplace for its only product.”