(Green Island, NY) – Hundreds rallied today across the street from the Honeywell Aerospace factory in Green Island where the unionized workforce has been locked out since May 9th, demanding the company end the lockout and negotiate in good faith. The Green Island factory and a sister plant in South Bend, Indiana make braking systems and wheels for commercial and military aircraft, including the Boeing 737, the Boeing B-52, and Lockheed Martin F-35.
The 42 members of United Auto Workers Local 1508 in Green Island were locked out, along with approximately 350 members of UAW Local 9 in South Bend after both locals rejected a final offer from Honeywell which would eliminate accessible and affordable union negotiated health care coverage, leaving the employees at the mercy of the company, eliminate their pensions, threatening the retirement income security of hundreds of families, unlawfully subcontract out union work, eliminate cost of living increases, curtail overtime pay, and restrict union representation rights.
Notwithstanding the union’s offer to continue to work past the expiration and continue negotiations, the company chose to lock out its skilled and experienced unionized workforce, leaving the production of vital aircraft braking systems to inexperienced and unskilled scab labor. The union’s charge that the company has illegally locked out the workers is currently being investigated by Region 3 of the National Labor Relations Board.
[pull_quote_center]“They have been wrongly locked out by their employer for rejecting a contract that would eliminate their pensions and impose unbearable increases in their health care costs. These dedicated men and women have the full resources of the New York State AFL-CIO at their disposal for as long as it takes to get a fair and equitable contract.”[/pull_quote_center]
Numerous labor leaders spoke in support of the locked out workers. “We fully support the men and women of UAW Local 1508 in their fight for fair wages and benefits as well as our brothers and sisters of UAW Local 9 in South Bend, Indiana,” said Mario Cilento, President of the 2.5 million member New York State AFL-CIO. “They have been wrongly locked out by their employer for rejecting a contract that would eliminate their pensions and impose unbearable increases in their health care costs. These dedicated men and women have the full resources of the New York State AFL-CIO at their disposal for as long as it takes to get a fair and equitable contract.”
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The average wage at the two plants is $21.83 per hour. “While David Cote, CEO of Honeywell, pays himself $15,865 per hour, he locks out hardworking men and women for daring to stand up to protect their families and Upstate New York middle class manufacturing jobs,” said Julie Kushner, Director of UAW Region 9A. “Millions of Americans have stood up to protest income inequality in our country, we will not let Honeywell add to the divide of rich and poor. They must end this lockout now and bargain in good faith.”
“Our members take pride in their work, knowing that the aircraft brakes and wheels we make for military aircraft help keep our nation safe and secure, and as part of civil aviation keep the flying public safe. All we want is decent pay and benefits in return for our hard work,” said Tim Vogt, a 29 year Honeywell employee and President of UAW Local 1508. “We cannot accept a contract that destroys our ability to provide for our families’ health and well-being.”
Community leaders joined with those assembled to demand justice. “Honeywell’s CEO is willing to let his workers go weeks without pay, forcing families to put their lives on hold, all so he can pocket more and more of the company’s profits,” said Karen Scharff, Executive Director of Citizen Action of New York. “It’s clear Honeywell doesn’t care how much devastation is caused by this lockout. We’re standing together to tell Honeywell that corporate greed has no place in our community. We won’t let them win.”
Local members of the New York State Legislature, the Mayors of Green Island, Cohoes, and Watervliet addressed the crowd, and representatives of Senators Charles Schumer, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Paul Tonko, unable to attend due to the Congress being in session, were also in attendance.
The company and the union have had two bargaining sessions with the assistance of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service since the lockout began.
For more information, contact Scott M. Sommer, (917) 656-2313, firstname.lastname@example.org.