USW 7-669 workers ready to get back to work at Honeywell

METROPOLIS, IL (KFVS) - Some union members say while they may not have agreed with everything in the deal, it'll be nice to be employed again after a year and one month on the picket line.

The Honeywell Metropolis Plant and the United Steel Workers Local 7-669 union finally reached an agreement on a new contract Tuesday.

At the end of June, 2010 Luckie Atkinson and all of his union co-workers were walked out, locked out and out of a job.

"When we got locked out I thought it'd be two weeks at the longest," Atkinson remembers.

As the weeks and months passed without a paycheck, his wife, Anne Marie Atkinson, went back out into the workforce. Atkinson was left at home.

"It was a role reversal," said Atkinson.

Atkinson took care of the home, the cleaning, the laundry, the shopping and his three-year-old grandson.

"We've spent a lot of time together," Atkinson said. "We're best buddies, we go fishing and ride four-wheelers, go hiking together."

That he says has been about the only silver lining he's found to being unemployed, because in 13 months he's seen his savings dwindle.

"I think Anne Marie told me we went through two-thirds of our savings," Atkinson said.

As the former family bread-winner, losing his job has also been hard on his pride.

"I guess because work was what defined me," he said. "It was the one thing I was good at: working."

Plus, he and his family had to live with constant uncertainty; never knowing when or if he'd ever get his job back.

"The worst part about it is you never know when it's gonna end," Atkinson said. "So every week it's like 'Luckie - watch what you spend'. Because when (Anne Marie) starts to worry, I get more concerned."

But Atkinson admits, he hasn't had it as bad as some of his co-workers. He was able to keep his home, and his family was able to stay afloat. But he says, he'll still be thrilled when he can walk back through Honeywell's gates and be on the clock again.

"It's been a long, hard time," Atkinson said. "I'm ready to get back to work - get back to what I do and get back to my life."

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