Union-backed workers won't compromise with Honeywell over job se - WPSD Local 6: Your news, weather, and sports authority

Union-backed workers won't compromise with Honeywell over job security

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METROPOLIS, Ill. - Union workers at a local plant say there's one thing they aren't willing to compromise on, no matter the consequences. "This dispute is about protecting the futures for our members," said union spokesperson John Paul Smith.

This is the same situation that happened four years ago in 2010 when union workers were locked out for over a year during a labor dispute. The three-year contract they ratified in 2011 expired on Friday, and the company says union-backed employees aren't allowed to go back to work until there's a new agreement. The two sides will start negotiations again in two weeks on August 18th.

In the meantime, United Steel Workers Local 7-669 members are getting some help from the international union, and they're allowed to collect unemployment to support themselves and their families during the lock out. Smith said they're ready to get back to work, but only under the right conditions.

"We are prepared to be out here until we can get an agreement," said Smith. Union-backed Honeywell employees are walking the line in front of the plant, because they aren't allowed to go to work past the gates. "We have no choice."

The contract from the company never reached a vote with union-backed employees. Smith said that's because it didn't provide job security. "They're wanting to change our subcontracting language to where they can basically contract every job we have. Our members aren't going to accept an agreement that does away with our jobs. It just doesn't make sense."

Honeywell says their offer was competitive and comprehensive, but they couldn't convince the workers to accept their bargain. They know what they want. Smith said, "It would look like our members working for the plant, and people from this community working for this plant, not out of town contractors."They take friendly honks from drivers passing by as support from the community and for the jobs they're picketing to protect.

The Honeywell plant provides more than 350 jobs in the Metropolis area. A little more than 130 of them are union jobs.     

Honeywell Spokesperson Peter Dalpe told Local 6, "The use of contractors for certain jobs yields better outcomes at higher quality and is more cost-effective. The use of contractors gives us needed flexibility to bring in the right people with the right skill sets for the right amount of time to get certain tasks done that are not core to the actual production."
"The company spent two weeks bargaining in good faith with the union on a contract that is fair to employees and good for the Metropolis facility, and it put forward a competitive and comprehensive 6-year offer that union leaders did not even permit their membership to vote on. While this was very disappointing, the company is prepared to continue the bargaining process when it sits down with the union again this month and hopes that constructive progress can be made at the table. The company prefers to conduct all negotiations directly with the union rather than through the media."

In response to Honeywell's position on replacing union worker with contract workers, Dalpe said, "The company has no plans and has made no proposal to replace union workers with contractors, and has made that clear to union leadership during negotiations. Both the current contract language and the company's latest proposal ensure that any use of contractors by the company will not result in the layoff of union workers."

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