Local Pres. Darrell Lillie Gets Call From Leo Gerard Upon Return From Wisconsin(click on picture for more photos)
Inside the plant, there are all sorts of rumors circulating. In the last negotiations, Honeywell made the point that they were trying to reduce their administrative time and costs. There is now a very high likelihood that layoffs will begin in the administrative positions within the plant. It must be a real kick in rear to know that you have trusted this corporation and shown them your loyalty, only to be reduced so that Larry Smith and Dave Cote can increase their bonuses.
It probably comes as no surprise that Dale Story is capitalizing on the situation in every way possible. A couple of his rental houses are now infested with roaches and RATS. He has his own scab tenants. Farley Taylor was the recipient of a few days off last week. Apparently he failed to verify a lock-out card. Darryl George has found a job elsewhere and will be leaving in short time. Don Macintosh, after receiving some continuous harassment from his supervisors, is off to greener pastures at ISP. Don, you will be missed. ISP is gaining one of the few good supervisors that Honeywell had. Honeywell seems to be burning bridges at every turn. Maybe it's time to change your strategy........
To the few managers left at the plant. Don't be scared. We're sure that the company has your best interests in mind......
Upcoming rallies in Indianapolis, Indiana & Keokuk, Iowa.
In the war against corporate greed, the battles wage on. Next Thursday, March 10th, our union will be chartering two busses to Indianapolis to participate in a statewide rally to help protect workers' rights. The rally will take place at the State capital building and is expected to be attended by thousands. All supporters of WORKERS, (not just unions) are encouraged to attend. Supporters of corporations should find a tea-bagger rally to attend.
On March 26th, at 1:00, there will be a rally to support the locked out BCTGM local 48G workers in Keokuk, Iowa. These Union Brothers and Sisters have been locked out by Roquette America Corporation since this summer. (Sound familiar?) They have been on the front lines fighting beside us since the beginning. Their rally will take place at the Keokuk Labor Temple, at the corner of 3rd and Blondeau Street. Please plan to attend.
Entire plant loses all power....
We have received several reports this morning from inside the plant that they have lost all power. This has been going on for the last hour and NO ONE knows what to do. The most experienced scabs in the industry seem to be worthless. "The Savior" Dean Palmer is probably yelling at someone right now to cover up up his own incompetence. Hey Dean, you don't have to compensate. Everyone knows you're an idiot. The power failure also led to a gas valve failure and subsequent gas leak. The available scabs and salary employees were also useless in responding that that emergency, as well.
Honeywell fails to secure Union employees' property.
As many of you may recall, not long ago we told you how Honeywell management cleaned out the personal lockers of all the Union employees so they could paint the locker room. Management, along with a certain security supervisor went to great lengths to film the cutting of each lock and the removal of all personal property. After all that, the boxes were placed in a locked storage unit outside. This week, it was discovered that someone had cut the lock off the storage unit and entered it. It is unclear what personal property is missing, but one thing is sure, Honeywell along with any people in those videos will be responsible for anything missing. Maybe, instead of adding more cameras to watch the picket line, they should have put one on that building.
Shaw scab cuts his arm in the plant requiring stitches. Honeywell refuses to allow ambulance to transport him.
On Tuesday, March 8th, a scab working for SHAW cut his arm in the plant. The cut was serious enough that it required stitches and an ambulance was called to transport the scab to the hospital. After the ambulance was dispatched, Honeywell managers decided that they would instead, arrange to transport the scab to the hospital and instructed the ambulance not to attempt to enter the plant. The managers were concerned about the negative publicity they might receive if an ambulance was seen entering and exiting the plant. They also tried desperately to keep reports of the incident from being leaked outside, but that's not easy when you have absolutely no loyalty from any of your employees.
Honeywell CEO Dave Cote gives himself a 56% pay increase in 2010! "Containing costs is everyone's responsibility"
This is all occurring while Honeywell spends millions to keep high-cost, unskilled replacement workers in the Metropolis plant, instead of negotiating with the skilled union workforce and ending an 8 month lockout. Non-union employees of Honeywell have not received promised 401-K matches (their only available retirement plan) in nearly two years. How long will American's accept this as the status-quo?
Meanwhile, Honeywell puppets such as Larry Smith and Peter Dalpe claim that Honeywell may be performing above average, but that the Specialty Materials Division is performing poorly, requiring deep cuts in benefits here in Metropolis. That's a very strange claim given that Andreas Kramvis, the President and CEO of the division received a 54% pay increase during the same time. "Containing costs is everyone's responsibility" It must not apply to him either.
It's facts like these that make it so much easier to fight a company like Honeywell. When you are fighting for what's right, you will always win.
Honeywell Pleads Guilty in Illinois to Illegal Storage of Hazardous Waste / Corporation sentenced to pay $11.8 million criminal fine
Honeywell International Inc. pleaded guilty today in federal district court in Benton, Ill., to one felony offense for knowingly storing hazardous waste without a permit in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Honeywell was also sentenced today to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $11.8 million. Read the full story below:
WASHINGTON – Honeywell International Inc. pleaded guilty today in federal district court in Benton, Ill., to one felony offense for knowingly storing hazardous waste without a permit in violation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Honeywell was also sentenced today to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $11.8 million.
“The defendant’s illegal storage practices put employees at risk of exposure to radioactive and hazardous materials,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s plea agreement and sentencing shows that those who try to circumvent the law and place people’s health and the environment at risk will be vigorously prosecuted.”
“Today, Honeywell must account for its knowing violation of a federal law that protects the public from exposure to hazardous waste containing radioactive material,” said Ignacia S. Moreno, assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Department of Justice. “All companies who generate hazardous waste must have a permit to store the waste and, when granted a permit under RCRA, must fully comply with its requirements or they will be prosecuted.”
Honeywell, a Delaware corporation with corporate headquarters in Morristown, N.J., owns and operates a uranium hexafluoride (UF6) conversion facility in Massac County, Ill., near the city of Metropolis and the Ohio River. Honeywell is licensed by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission to possess and otherwise manage natural uranium, which it converts into UF6 for nuclear fuel. The Metropolis facility is the only facility in the United States to convert natural uranium into UF6.
At the Metropolis facility, air emissions from the UF6 conversion process are scrubbed with potassium hydroxide (KOH) prior to discharge. As a result of this process, KOH scrubbers and associated equipment accumulate uranium compounds that settle out of the liquid and are pumped as a slurry into 55-gallon drums. The drummed material, called “KOH mud” and consisting of uranium and KOH, has a pH greater than or equal to 12.5.
In November 2002, Honeywell shut down part of the wet reclamation process it used to reclaim the uranium from the KOH mud, knowing that previously accumulated drums of KOH mud and any additional drums of KOH mud generated thereafter would have to be stored onsite until such time as the wet reclamation process was restarted. Honeywell also knew that, because the pH of KOH mud generated at the facility was greater than or equal to 12.5, it is classified as corrosive hazardous waste under regulations issued pursuant to RCRA. Therefore, Honeywell needed, but did not have, a RCRA permit to store any drums of KOH mud at its facility longer than 90 days.
In July 2007 Honeywell requested a modification of its RCRA permit from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) so that it could store drums of KOH mud. IEPA issued Honeywell a modified permit in July 2008, allowing Honeywell to store drums containing KOH mud only in a KOH container storage area designed to contain any spills, leaks, or precipitation that accumulates in the drum storage area. By September 2008 Honeywell had accumulated more than 7,000 drums of KOH mud. In April 2009, EPA special agents conducted a search warrant and found nearly 7,500 illegally stored drums containing waste that was both radioactive and hazardous. Honeywell began storing the KOH mud drums in compliance with the terms of its RCRA permit in approximately March 2010.
In accordance with the terms of the criminal plea agreement, Honeywell will serve a five-year term of probation. As a condition of probation, Honeywell must comply with the terms of the interim consent order entered into with the Illinois Attorney General’s Office and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, filed on April 21, 2010, and any subsequent revisions, which imposes a schedule for the processing of KOH mud. As a further condition of probation, Honeywell must implement a community service project in the community surrounding the Metropolis facility, whereby Honeywell will develop, fund, and implement a household hazardous waste collection program and arrange for proper treatment, transportation, and disposal of this waste collected during at least eight collection events over a two year period, at a cost of approximately $200,000.
Honeywell pleads guilty to felony, fined $11.8 Million!
The entire situation stems from Honeywell's greed. In 2002, they laid off all the workers in the Uranium Recovery and Wet Process areas of the plant. These units processed the waste in question, but Honeywell wanted to maximize profits and the two areas of the plant didn't directly turn a profit for them. Drums of toxic potassium hydroxide or KOH mud began to accumulate almost immediately throughout the plant. After a short amount of time, Honeywell managers were instructing workers to store the drums in one particular area of the plant, reassuring everyone that they were being stored legally. Employees knew something was wrong.
The hourly employees of the union kept asking questions about the legality of storing such materials, which could not be safely contained in metal drums because it was so corrosive. The material had the ability to rust through the wall of a metal drum within just a few short months. In 2008, Dave Cote himself was touring the Metropolis facility. He participated in a town-hall meeting, which all employees were invited to. During the town-hall meeting, which was broadcast live to other Honeywell facilities, Cote was asked by a union employee, "How can we be expected to follow Honeywell's code of conduct, when we are being told by supervisors to store this material illegally?"
Cote was visually angry about the question and answered that he was not aware of the situation. Around that time was when the whistle blew. Honeywell claims that they "self reported" the violation on a Securities and Exchange Commission document. While not a complete lie, the claim of self reporting is only about half true. Where we come from, when you have a fire, you call the fire department, not the bank. It was after someone reviewing that document noticed that the amount of KOH muds was grossly over the allowed amount that the EPA busted in the plant armed, with warrants to gather information and see what was going on. That was the result of employees reporting the violations, not Honeywell. An $11.8 million fine doesn't indicate that the judge believed that they were trying to do the right thing. It is however, an indication of Honeywell's arrogance.
Honeywell also pled guilty in a civil case and was fined an additional $690,000.00 by the Illinois EPA. The must also participate in a community service project, which will include collecting and disposal of household waste. What remains to be seen is if nearly 12 million dollars is enough to discourage Honeywell from engaging in future similar activity, or if they will continue to chalk such violations up as the price of doing business. It is by no coincidence that the turnover is so high for Environmental Managers at the plant; the fear of going to prison usually leads to them looking for alternative employment.
LOCKED OUT METROPOLIS STEELWORKERS GO ON THE ROAD TO SHOW SOLIDARITY TO PUBLIC WORKERS BESIEGED BY GOP CONTROLLED GOVERNORS
As a member of Local 7-669, the threat for us is a very real one. We have been locked out of our jobs at Honeywell International since June 28, 2010. We have endured a very hot summer, a crisp fall, and a very cold, snowy winter in that time. As we enter spring, we are no closer to a settlement with the company than when we started. Negotiations have been quick and without fruition, as Honeywell seems to not know the definition of bargaining and compromise. This is a company that has seen sales records and profits through the roof, and one that does not seem to share the sentiment that workers make the difference. This sentiment seems to be running rampant in GOP controlled states as well. After last year’s elections that saw many Republican/Tea Party candidates elected as a result of a sluggish economy by voters fed up with high unemployment and a soaring national deficit, the message was that these candidates wanted to run our country like a business. Many people obviously bought this promise. What the right wing failed to tell was which type of business. Apparently they want to run our governments like a sweat shop or at least one in which public sector employees have little or no say in bargaining for their contracts and benefits and one in which they could actually break union contracts to supposedly revive schools and cities. Many of my union brothers and sisters see the writing on the wall. If public unions fail, these same senators, congressmen, and governors will be coming after the private sector next.
We left for Wisconsin on Feb. 27 to show our solidarity with the fine people of Madison, and drove through the night to make it happen. Once there, we noticed first the absolute cold and snow, and knew it was going to be a frigid day. As we entered the capitol with our USW LOCKED OUT signs and our huge USW banner, we could feel the pride building inside and felt like we definitely knew that this was a special time to be a union worker. Many, many people there gave us thumbs up, words of “thank you”, and appreciative looks. In the middle of the capitol, students from the University of Wisconsin were leading chants and also facilitating a microphone and speaker so people could vent and let the people know what is on the line. We heard many stories from teachers, parents, prison workers, and other public employees who said that class sizes would increase, concerned that their children’s educations are being jeopardized, that they barely have enough to make it on what they make now, and that they are concerned that they fear the middle class is under siege. This was a very powerful demonstration, and before long THOUSANDS of people took to the streets to march in protest of Governor Scott Walker and his elitist agenda. Keep in mind that the unions had already agreed to concessions on pensions and pay. This wasn’t good enough for Governor Walker, because the real agenda in my opinion is to weaken unions and union membership in an effort to slow support for the Democratic Party. The people have spoken Scott Walker, and you have slapped democracy right in the face! To the Wisconsin Democrats that left the state to avoid a vote, aptly named the FANTASTIC 14, a heartfelt thank you goes out to you for your courage and strength. Labor will not forget you, nor will we forget what has transpired in Wisconsin. I am sure that Wisconsinites will not forget in 2012, and working people everywhere need to unite to rid our government of these elitist thugs who want us to sacrifice our way of life so they can get fatter and richer and more powerful. As we marched that day in nine degree, snowy weather, one thing was very evident; union and non union alike are fed up with being pushed around, and we will not stand for it any longer! It was surreal to see so many people chanting, marching, and demonstrating for a common purpose.
Two weeks later, our union took two charter busses to Indianapolis, Indiana to once again show solidarity and support for workers in that state. Indiana is trying to also curb organized labor influence by passing a bill that also limits teachers’ collective bargaining rights. I don’t know how the GOP thinks this is going to help their states’ economic health. Democratic senators have also left the state to deny a vote, and unions from the USW, UAW, Laborers Union (LIUNA) andTEAMSTERS, as well as the public teachers unions, converged on the capitol on this day, March, 10th 2011, to give these tea bagging Republicans a piece of their mind. Of course, none of these politicians had the intestinal fortitude to show up and explain how or why taking away rights from state workers and teachers is a profitable, good idea. Many people spoke this day, including religious leaders, United Students Against Sweatshops, the Sierra Club, but my personal favorites were of course Leo Gerard from the USW and Terry O’ Sullivan from the Laborers. Gerard lambasted the GOP for starting a fight with unions, and said that we would “Kick Their Ass!” One of the highlights for me was seeing rapper OB (Mike O’Brien from USW Local 6500) singing Leo Gerard Happy Birthday, and the crowd of around thirty thousand joining in. OB also gave a rousing rendition of his hit song “ONE DAY LONGER”, a song that my union brothers and I got to perform with him in Madison in front of around one hundred thousand people! Talk about a rush!! I can see how people get addicted to the attention and the adulation that the crowd gives. I don’t think OB or any other artist has anything to worry about, however. My singing could make cats cry and raise the dead in anger! Governor Mitch Daniels, you should be ashamed of yourself for trying to cater to big business, just like your cohort Scott Walker, and it is my sincere hope that you are not only not re-elected, but that you leave politics for good. You are no good for OUR country, the PEOPLES state of Indiana, or anything else. James Bowland from the Bricklayers Union blasted FOX “NEWS” for their blatant attacks on unions and democrats, and in particular, Glen Beck, Shaun Hannity, and Bill O’Reilly for trying to pit working people against each other in an attempt to split up the Democratic vote. He had some pretty harsh words for our favorite fat-cat, union hating, elitist wannabe Rush Limbaugh as well. This was an informative rally, and the message was that in 2012 changes need to be made. My opinion mirrors that of the rally, with the assumption that the Democratic Party is listening too. People are tired of their jobs being shipped overseas, tired of being blamed for government’s missteps and tired of paying the tab for corporations, banks, and other institutions to squander funds and require bailouts, only months later give out huge bonuses for CEOs and other bigwigs. In our case at Honeywell, Dave Cote, our CEO, recently gave himself a 56% pay raise, all the while preaching that employees need to share in the responsibility of keeping cost down. He has tried to accomplish this by cutting healthcare benefits, pay, hours, and retirement payments to the workers who make the company money. His annual salary jumped from around twelve million a year to nineteen million a year, excluding bonuses. Something is very wrong with this picture, and all the while people are getting word that around four hundred people in this country own around fifty percent of the wealth! I don’t know how many of you have ever gotten a 56% raise, but it is of little wonder how the rich get richer doing this.
After a long day enduring freezing temperatures, light snow, and windy conditions, we headed back to Metropolis, grateful for the chance to see some of the best labor leaders in the country and to be a part of history. This labor rally was the largest to ever be held in the state of Indiana. As our futures still remain uncertain, we cling to the hope that the labor movement can have a resurgence and that working people everywhere can enjoy what union members enjoy; a voice in the workplace and a brother/sisterhood that is unparalleled. Union members look out for each other; take care of each other, both in spirit and monetarily. We have been the recipients of remarkable generosity, as unions across the country have donated to our fight against corporate greed. For members of USW 7-669, taking a trip across a few states is our honor and privilege and we will continue to support workers that need a few extra voices in their fight. After all, while we are all under attack from corporate greed and politicians being driven by big business, we must bond together and show that we will not be deterred and that in the end, the truth and doing what is right always will prevail.
For more information, visit www.usw7-669.com.
Story by: Ozzie England USW 7-669
Candlelight prayer vigil scheduled for Thursday, March 17th
Everyone is invited to attend a candlelight prayer vigil sponsored by the United Steelworkers Local 7-669. It will take place at the USW union hall, Highway 45 North, in Metropolis on Thursday, March 17th, at 7:00 P.M.
Join us as we pray together for an end the lockout.
New scabs and negotiations
You may recall Larry Smith's September 30th statement, available on Honeywell's website: "The good news is that we have been able to use this time to do some much needed maintenance and cleaning all around the plant, as well as to upgrade many of our operating procedures and related training requirements." Have the worlds safest scabs already torn it up?
In the next few weeks, we will be putting a lot of new information on our site about some of the new scabs at the plant. This week a group of local scabs began crossing our picket line to do work as janitors, laundry, and general labor. There's no telling why these local scabs, are choosing to cross our line, but we suspect that the money had something to do with it. There's a reason why the jobs at the Metropolis Honeywell facility are good jobs with good pay and benefits. The union has fought hard to get them and keep them. Now that local scabs are crossing our line, they are fighting against us to keep these good jobs. That's the reason why will expose them every step of the way. Feel free to help expose these low-lifes if you know one. We'll do our part to let you know who they are.
The new Last, Best, and Final!
Company negotiators have been telling our committee, our body, and the public that our current contract, specifically the language, is old. They continuously refer to it as a 50 year old contract. The problem is that our members seem to have a different recollection of the last 50 years. Many remember negotiating a contract every three years for the past 50 and giving concessions to the company EVERY time. We've had enough.
- Honeywell Metropolis is very profitable...... at least until about 12 months ago when they started spending heavily on this labor dispute. They claim to be losing money, but even as a publicly traded company, they refuse to provide any details of their losses. Current cost of the lockout is over $60 million. (That doesn't include their latest $11.8 million fine.)
- The union has worked with this company for over 50 years to promote a harmonious and profitable relationship. It would seem that it's simply not enough for Honeywell. They want more.
- Honeywell is bleeding money on the labor dispute. Their scab labor is more expensive and less productive than the union workforce and management knows it.
- Current production numbers in the plant are a joke. They don't run any processes at night or on the weekends. After a 75 day shutdown that was supposed to have been used to do all maintenance, the company is shutting down for another 5 weeks to do more maintenance. So..... How are those scabs working out for you?
-The union is stronger than ever and the rest of the country is behind us.
It's looking like our union body is getting ready to send the company our own last, best, and final offer. You start negotiating or it will continue to cost you, dearly. And just think about one more thing....... We'll be negotiating another one of these with you in a few short years. You better save a little money for that one. The union at the "New Metropolis Works", as Lying Larry likes to call it, knows how to fight and doesn't know how to quit.