Honeywell Lockout Continues After Employees Reject Latest Offer

Honeywell: 360b/, UAW: Glynnis Jones/

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Ted Goodman Contributor
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Employees at Honeywell’s Aerospace plant in South Bend, Ind., rejected the latest contract proposal from management, extending a strike that began in May.

Three hundred and forty workers at the plant walked off the job in May after employees and management could not reach an agreement on a new contract. The workers are represented by United Automobile Workers (UAW) Local 9, and have rejected numerous proposals by Honeywell.

Robert Smith, an employee at the plant, said that the employees wanted to go back to work, but only after concerns over wage increases, health insurance, and benefits were addressed.  “It’s gonna be rough for a while,” Smith told reporters in May, alluding to what had now turned into a six-month strike.

The two sides have met throughout the summer and into the fall, with management offering employees a five-year contract that would include wage increases in years one through four. Honeywell has said it proposed at least one year with zero increase to pay in order to match what employees did in 2013 to avoid layoffs following the great recession.

On Saturday, Local 9 workers voted on the new proposal, but rejected it by a large margin. According to WSBT TV, the union is pursuing charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging that Honeywell violated labor laws during the bargaining process.

In a statement Saturday night, a Honeywell spokesman expressed disappointment: “We listened to the union and made substantial moves on healthcare to try and reach an agreement,” the company asserted. “Our proposal is similar to the healthcare available to nearly all U.S. Honeywell employees and to what every other U.S. Union within Honeywell.”

Honeywell in South Bend hired temporary workers soon after the strike began in order to keep up with scheduled orders. The plant is where Honeywell makes wheels for F-35s and Boeing 747s.

No further negotiation sessions are scheduled.

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