EMF, EMCEF and EPSU condemn Honeywell lockout in the U.S.
European labour federations show solidarity to locked out Honeywell workers in the U.S. and send letter to the company CEO demanding a return to work and a full agreement with United Steelworkers.
USA: Showing strong international solidarity, European labour federations called on Honeywell's CEO in the U.S. to take all measures to end the 11 month lockout of United Steelworker (USW) members at the company's uranium processing plant in Metropolis, Illinois.
In a letter sent on May 12, the European Metalworkers Federation (EMF), the European Mine, Chemical, Energy Workers' Federation (EMCEF) and the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) expressed concern about the safety of the plant following recent incidents and emphasized the importance of running nuclear facilities with highly trained and skilled workers. "We believe the safety of the plant has been compromised on several occasions by the present temporary workforce. This is unacceptable in an industry which has such societal and environmental responsibility," wrote the federations.
On May 10, The European Works Council of Honeywell adopted a statement on behalf of all 30,000 workers in Europe reminding the company of its responsibilities to all employees and communities in which they live, stating: "We have agreed to support our fellow workers using all possible means, and would demand that this lock out should be ended immediately, with all workers to be welcomed back to their plant without any reprisals, and with full agreement of their union the United Steelworkers."
Honeywell began the lockout of its union workers on June 28, 2010, over a dispute when the workers refused to accept the company's proposal to eliminate retiree health care and pension plans for new hires and increase workers' out-of-pocket health care expenses to $8,500 a year.
The Honeywell-Metropolis plant is operating during the lockout with inexperienced temporary workers to convert uranium for use in commercial nuclear reactors. According to a USW report issued early in the lockout, up to 1.12 million pounds of hydrofluoric acid at a time were in use at Honeywell Metropolis Works. Honeywell has acknowledged that a release of just 16 per cent of this amount of hydrofluoric acid could impact as many as 128,000 people in the surrounding 25 mile radius.
USW Local 7-669 leaders John Paul Smith and Steven Lech, together with USW District Director Dan Flippo, were hosted by UK's Unite the Union in Europe in May and met with national works council members in Germany and the European trade union federations in Belgium, as well as with members of Honeywell's EWC in Brussels.
For additional reporting see the following websites:
USW - http://www.usw.org/media_center/news_articles?id=0772
EMF - http://www.emf-fem.org/Areas-of-work/Industrial-Policy/Activities/honeywell
ICEM - http://www.icem.org/en/3-Energy-Oil-and-Gas/4429-EMCEF-EMF-EPSU-Condemn-Honeywell-Lockout-in-USMay 16, 2011 – Anita Gardner