Locked out - 228 local steelworker union members not allowed inside Honeywell

By Heartland News

METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - Update: "The company and union met Tuesday, but unfortunately no substantial progress was made toward an agreement," said Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe.

He added, "While Honeywell remains committed to staying at the bargaining table in hopes of reaching a fair and equitable agreement that allows the plant to return to profitability, the union indicated it did not see any reason to continue negotiations this week."

"The parties are seeking to schedule the next bargaining session, but no definite date has been set yet," he said.

Dalpe added, "In the meantime, the plant continued operations Tuesday with no issues."

Original story: A labor dispute at a Metropolis business has more than 200 workers on the picket line.

Monday night there were dozens of local union workers picketing outside the Honeywell plant. Honeywell in Metropolis has about 385 employees, about 228 of them are union.

Members of the local steelworkers union were told they will not be allowed back inside until a new contract is reached.

Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe says the two sides have been negotiating toward a new contract for about a month (see full statement below).

The old contract expired last week. When the union declined to meet with a mediator and also refused to sign an agreement giving a 24 hour strike notice, the company decided to lock the union workers out.

The president of the local steelworkers union, Darrell Lillie, says it was an action he expected.

Lillie says retirement and medical benefits are the key issues in the dispute. However, during the lockout Honeywell is continuing contributions toward employee medical care and the continuation of company-paid life insurance on employees.

Statement from Honeywell spokesman Peter Dalpe:

"The company is disappointed that no substantial progress was made in the negotiations today. The union again refused to sign an agreement that would require 24-hours notice before a strike action.

As a result, the company has made the difficult decision to not allow the union to work without a contract. As of 6:30 p.m., the company began to run the plant using trained and certified salaried employees. They will continue to run the facility until a temporary contingent workforce can complete the final stages of their in-depth training.

The temporary contingent workforce will be comprised of workers from the Shaw Group, the largest nuclear contractor in the U.S. and one of the largest maintenance providers to the power and process industries. Most importantly, Shaw has an excellent safety record. Safety remains our highest priority and we would not run the facility if we believed it could not be done safely.

While union workers will not be allowed to work and will not be paid, the company is mindful of the impact on these employees. We are taking a number of steps to help alleviate extreme hardships on our union employees' families. These include continuation, for now, of company contributions toward employee medical care and continuation of company-paid life insurance on employees.

Honeywell remains ready and willing to meet and negotiate with the union to keep pursuing a new contract that supports safe and successful operations at Metropolis Works, meets our business requirements, and is fair to our employees."

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