Unite has condemned multi-national technology giant Honeywell for blatant anti-trade union discrimination against uranium workers in Metropolis, Illinois, which is resisting de-recognition of unionised labour jobs and the decimation of basic healthcare entitlements.
150 members of Unite’s sister union the United Steelworkers (USW) have been locked-out of the uranium conversion facility since 1 August 2014, after refusing to accept management’s attempts to cut permanent, unionised jobs in favour of hiring outside contractors on reduced terms and conditions.
The USW fears for health and safety at the site, where employees work with hazardous radioactive materials and chemicals to convert uranium into nuclear fuel, and for the surrounding communities over the prospect of inexperienced labour managing day-to-day operations.
The campaign to end the lockout and get the 150 employees back to work is now intensifying and support for the workers has even reached the Scottish Parliament, where Neil Findlay MSP has tabled a parliamentary motion condemning the company – which has workplaces in Scotland – and expressing solidarity with the USW Local 7-669.
Unite Scottish secretary Pat Rafferty said: “The actions of Honeywell are absolutely disgraceful – not only is the company attacking the hard fought terms and conditions of the workers but they are compromising the safety of the site and the local area.
“The workers’ struggle is our struggle because multinational giants like Honeywell, a company in which Unite has hundreds of members in Scotland, will dictate their own agenda without the counter-balance of organised labour.
“The trade unionists at Local 7-669 have fought for safer working practices, decent terms and conditions and to ensure the integrity of the site for all the workers and for the wider community in Metropolis – you can’t place a value on that.
“We’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the USW to get these people back to work without detriment to terms and conditions and to demand that multi-nationals put people and not profits first.”
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.