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By Michael Rose
Sept. 15 — The United Auto Workers filed an unfair labor practice charge against Honeywell International Inc. related to an ongoing lockout of about 350 workers at company facilities in Indiana and upstate New York.
The lockout began in May at plants in South Bend, Ind., and Green Island, N.Y., where workers manufacture components of aircraft landing gear. The parties met at the bargaining table Sept. 14 for the first time since June, the union announced that night.
The unfair labor practice charge, filed with the National Labor Relations Board Sept. 14, alleges that Honeywell refused to let the union conduct a health and safety inspection. “We went in there, and they didn’t let us see the things the things we needed to see,” Brian Rothenberg, a UAW spokesman, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 15.
The charge states that Honeywell management refused to allow union officials to take photos and “did not honor its agreement to take photographs for the union.” The company also refused to allow a union official to perform testing or take samples, the charge said.
Scott Sayres, a spokesman for Honeywell, told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 15 that the company had “provided the union exactly what it requested—access to specific areas of the plant identified by the union.” The inspection took place Sept. 13, he said.
“Two union representatives, including a UAW safety and health coordinator, spent more than an hour and a half at the plant. The union’s allegation is a typical negotiations tactic,” Sayres said. “We continue to bargain in good faith and want to reach an agreement that gets our employees back to work as soon as possible.”
In a statement released late Sept. 14, however, the union said the company “brought no new proposals to settle the lockout” to its initial bargaining meeting that day.
“The UAW continues to demand that Honeywell end the lockout, return our members to work, and bargain in good faith to reach a comprehensive agreement,” the union said, adding that it had presented several counterproposals to the company’s last, best and final offer, which Honeywell presented in June.
Rothenberg said one of the union’s demands was that the company allow workers to return to their jobs while negotiations continue, but he declined to discuss the other proposals. He added that the union already had filed a number of other unfair labor practice charges related to the lockout.
The company has pointed to “challenging times for the aviation industry” as the reason it seeks to make changes to employee benefits, including health-care plans and pensions.
A union official told Bloomberg BNA in June that UAW members were dissatisfied with the company’s offer of a high-deductible health-care plan, as well as proposals to freeze employee pensions and eliminate cost-of-living allowances, supplemental unemployment benefits and retiree health-care benefits.
Employees at a Honeywell facility in Illinois represented by the United Steelworkers were locked out for seven months beginning in 2014. USW officials in August expressed support for the UAW and the workers affected by the current work stoppage.
The two plants have been operating with temporary workers since the lockout began.
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Text of the unfair labor practice charge is at http://src.bna.com/iCf.
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