Honeywell and Union Continue Battle

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By WSIL Manager

METROPOLIS -- Contract negotiations between Honeywell Metropolis and union workers will resume Monday.

The two sides have taken a break from the bargaining table for the past week, but that isn't stopping a war of words. Honeywell claims union members on the picket line dropped nails near the plant entrance, puncturing the tires of five vehicles.
 
Honeywell also says picketers are blocking trucks from entering the facility, and shouting racial slurs at a bus bringing in workers. Union leaders say Honeywell is spreading misinformation to distract from the real issues behind the strike, like job security, healthcare and safety.
     
The company locked out 134 union employees August 1st when their contract expired and they failed to reach a new agreement.
 
Below are full releases from Honeywell and the Union:
 
HONEYWELL STATEMENT
 
"The company is today sending a letter to the union president over concerns that union picketers at its Metropolis facility have engaged in certain activity that raises serious safety concerns. Among the issues:
 
* At times, union picketers have blocked the entrance to the plant by walking in front of vehicles as they try to enter or leave. This endangers the picketers, drivers trying to enter or exit the plant, and the safety of those traveling on the state highway in front of the facility.
 
* Nails were found in the tires of five vehicles after they drove past picketers on the driveway entrances to the plant. The company found matching nails on the driveway entrances where picketers were standing. After these nails were picked up, a subsequent safety check soon afterward found new nails on these driveway entrances.
 
In addition to these safety-related activities, the company has received reports of a picketer using a bullhorn to shout racial slurs at bus drivers who were bringing workers into the plant. The bus drivers were African-American, as were some passengers on the bus.
 
While the company recognizes the union's right to conduct lawful picketing in support of its bargaining demands, it believes this type of activity to be unacceptable. During the last labor dispute at the facility, the company sought and was granted an injunction in Massac County Circuit Court ordering that the union cease certain misconduct. The union was later found in contempt of that court order.
 
In its letter to the union president, the company is asking that union leaders remind members of the standards of conduct to which the union and company agreed as a result of that court order.
 
The company's overriding priority in sending this letter is safety -- safety of the plant, safety of those entering and leaving the facility and safety of the picketers themselves. The company is hopeful that union leaders will take this matter seriously, address these concerns and avoid the need for further intervention from the courts."
 
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UNION RESPONSE
 
Metropolis, IL - "On August 2nd Honeywell placed our families and community in danger when they locked out the experienced Union work force. Our Union recognizes their legal right to lock us out while there is not an agreement. Our Union however also has the right to lawfully picket the entrances of the facility as we have exercised. We do not and have never condoned any illegal activities on the picket line or anywhere else. 
 
"The company has maintained that they wish to keep issues with the union at the bargaining table, yet consistently involve local media in attempts to sway public opinion. The company sent the letter that was published today to the union at the same moment that it was sent to the media, along with pictures that lack reference.The company had the option to work with the union to resolve any issues that may have arisen but, like in bargaining, have chosen differently. We maintain that the company's accusations are baseless and, much like their attempts to distract the public away from the real issues by comparing wages and benefits on their website, this is nothing more than another attempt to try to gain support from an already untrusting community."
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