Honeywell lockout nearing settlement (video)

METROPOLIS, Ill – Steelworkers from USW Local 7-669 will be voting this week on a tentative contract with Honeywell. Despite the union’s best efforts, including a willingness to work under their old contract while continuing to negotiate, Honeywell locked them out over 13 months ago. In premeditated fashion, the company had scabs ready to take over operations when they walked the union members out of the plant. It was a clear effort to break the union.

The plant here in Metropolis processes uranium used to make fuel rods for nuclear power plants. The 230 workers here use some of the deadliest chemicals known. The cancer rate for these workers is 10 times higher than the average population. More than 40 steelworkers from the Metropolis plant have died of cancer and others are fighting the deadly disease. Yet one of the big demands Honeywell made before the lockout was cuts in health care for employees and retirees.

In the video below, Darrel Lillie, president of local 7-669 talks about the last 13 months and the issues involved. He highlights the role of global solidarity and community support in the fight for a fair contract. Details are not available pending ratification of the membership, but it is clear that these steelworkers have stopped a major effort to take advantage of a bad economy to bust their union.

Honeywell Lockout Win for Workers from Scott Marshall on Vimeo.

Photo: Scott Marshall/PW


Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.