Today’s version of the Illinois World Labor Hour is now up and available at Radio4All here. A fast-paced and spirited show, it featured guests Mike Griffin, veteran of the labor wars at Staley in the 1990s, along with John Smith, a member of United Steelworkers of America Local 7-669 and Honeywell worker at Metropolis, IL currently locked out by the company. The roughly 230 members of Local 7-669 have been locked out for nearly six months, with the lockout beginning June 28. Despite reaping over $31 billion in revenues during the 2009 fiscal year, in good part bolstered by government contracts totaling roughly $13 billion in the last decade, Honeywell locked out the workers for their refusal to approve a concessionary contract that would include pay cuts and givebacks on health care.
The show covered many critical aspects of the workers’ struggle in Metropolis, including Honeywell’s hiring scab workers and coaching them through safety tests for hazardous materials used for manufacturing various nuclear materials, the company’s lobbying largess toward President Obama and the Democratic Party, the political connections between Obama and Honeywell CEO David Cote who also sits on the President’s Deficit (or, as the blogger Digby terms it, “Catfood”) Commission, numerous safety violations at the Metropolis facility, local aspects of the struggle, and its broader implications for the labor movement and American politics.
For some excellent background on this struggle, be sure to read the numerous stories by labor reporter Mike Elk at Huffington Post detailing these and other pertinent details. Also be sure to visit USW Local 7-669’s website for more information, news updates, photographs, links, and ways you can help bring their struggle to a successful conclusion. With Mike Griffin’s help, the local is establishing myriad committees for assistance, including ways for people to adopt families for locked-out workers, and solidarity groups around East Central Illinois. Please call the Local’s office at 618-524-7474 for more information, and ways you can help.