Honeywell locked out UAW members at its Aircraft Wheel and Brake manufacturing facilities in South Bend, Indiana, and Green Island, New York, May 9, after less than a month of negotiations for a collective agreement.
There were ominous signs from the beginning of this year, UAW officials report. "When we began negotiations," said UAW Local 9 Bargaining Committeeman Jamie Johnson, "the company simply presented us with a copy of our labor agreement with almost every line crossed out in red."
Honeywell brought in replacement workers hired by a company called Strom Engineering, whose sole line of business appears to be providing replacements for striking or locked out workers. In February 2016 Honeywell employed Strom's contingency plan and began to shadow UAW members and learn how to do their jobs.
"Strom is a professional scabbing outfit, and they seem proud of this," said UAW Local 9 Bargaining Committeeman Jamie Johnson. "I take pride in the quality and craftsmanship of my work, and Honeywell basically was saying we don't care about quality. We will bring in a temp until you cave."
"We knew when the scab workers showed up while we were still working that Honeywell was not serious about getting a fair agreement," said UAW Local 9 Bargaining Committeeman Bo Sands. After members rejected an offer from the company May 6 that would have completely gutted their labor agreement and offered to continue working while talks continued, Honeywell forced union members to leave the plant and announced the workers were locked out. The parties have met twice since with no result.
"We think this is a pattern with Honeywell under its current leadership," said USW Vice President Carol Landry who heads up the union's chemical and nuclear fuel sectors. "In the last two rounds of negotiations at the company's Metropolis, Illinois, uranium plant, the company locked our members out both times, in both cases for many months. Honeywell seems to believe this vicious and extreme tactic is just routine business." Landry pledged the USW's full support for the locked out workers.
Honeywell's corporate chieftains are among the highest paid in the United States, with CEO David Cote pulling in at least $27 million in 2015. "Those corporate types in their fancy executive suites seem to enjoy locking out the workers – who make all that executive money possible – until they cave on their own pay and benefits," said UAW Local 1508 President Tim Vogt.
"Honeywell is exhibiting a pattern of anti-worker behavior," said Landry. "Our two unions plan to work closely together to defeat this latest outrage. It is disturbing that a company like Honeywell that is doing well on the balance sheet and compensating executives with millions of dollars, treats the workforce in the factory the way they have in recent years. It is an ugly pattern."
Contacts: UAW: Brian Rothenberg, (614) 207-3237
USW: Carol Landry, (412) 562-2264
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SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)