Tensions Rise as Honeywell Negotiations Continue
By West Kentucky Star Staff
METROPOLIS, IL - Negotiations are continuing between Honeywell and union workers at the plant in Metropolis, and it appears tensions are rising.
United Steelworkers Local 7-669 President Stephen Lech issued a statement Wednesday morning, indicating that the number of Honeywell employees and supervisors at the plant has increased significantly. While saying that negotiations have been very professional, Lech said both sides remain far apart on several key issues.
“We have remained committed to bargaining in good faith to bring a fair contract to our members,” said Lech. “It now appears that Honeywell is more interested in intimidating our members with a show of force in preparation for a labor dispute than in bargaining for a settlement with the union.”
Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe issued a company statement, saying that talks have been productive, and they are hopeful progress can be made to settle the remaining differences. He indicated that the company notified the union that more company employees would arrive this week.
"Given the uncertainty that surrounds any bargaining process, it is standard practice for companies like Honeywell to make preparations to continue their operations regardless of the outcome of contract negotiations.
The Metropolis facility had to rebuild its customer base after an unexpected 14-month production shutdown in 2012-13, and these customers are counting on the plant for certainty that their needs for uranium hexaflouride will be met.
In an effort to be as transparent as possible, company negotiators on Monday informed the union bargaining committee that its contingency preparations would become more visible this week. They also were emphatic in saying that this activity in no way diminishes the company’s firm commitment to continuing to bargain in good faith toward a settlement.”
Lech said the 14-month lockout of union workers in 2010 came after failed negotiations, so he is concerned.
“If this is the road that Honeywell wants to travel, we have no choice but to prepare ourselves” Lech added.