Unite, USW Participate in Meeting of Unions at Honeywell

On September 27 and 28 representatives from 12 Honeywell sites across the US and in the UK came together at the USW Local 10-667 union hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a meeting of the Honeywell Union Council. Representatives of the USW, Teamsters, IBEW, UA, and Machinists were joined by three representatives of Unite the Union from the UK.

Dan Flippo, USW District 9 Director opened the meeting. With the agenda agreed USW Vice President Carol Landry spoke of the need for this council to be recognised by Honeywell. She reminded participants of the need to us the tools available to the union movement, including tools that bolster unions’ ability to communicate, organize and build leverage at employers.  She also spoke about globalisation and the importance that unions act globally.

Ian Tonks, Unite National Officer and coordinator for Honeywell’s European Works Council (EWC), spoke on behalf of Unite the Union and Workers Uniting. He explained about Honeywell in the UK, membership density, the shop stewards structure and the information and consultation forums that Honeywell had set up in the UK.

He went on to say their was a clear strategy of union avoidance which the company referred to as “positive employee relations.” The good news was that Unite in the UK were very close to securing a new recognition agreement with a group of workers from Honeywell Business Services ( HBS ). This is on the back of the company trying to impose telematic devices (trackers) on their service engineers.

Des Edwards, Unite convenor at Yeovil, gave a presentation on how negotiations had gone at the last bargaining round and also briefed on other issues within his site, and the relationship between Unite reps and the local management. Des said, “This was a great meeting, but I feel that their are clear communication problems in the US, and no respect by Honeywell of the role of the unions in the US.”

Des went on to say that he believed at the site in Yeovil management respected the position of the union and with that mutual respect they as a union had delivered may benefits for his membership.

Alan Sole, Unite convenor and EWC Coordinating Council member said, “I believe the meeting with the Honeywell council was invaluable to forge the ties between unions involved in a global corporation.” Alan informed the US Honeywell council of the work of the Honeywell EWC and his role on the coordinating committee. He explained the Honeywell EWC represents 32,000 employees in 19 European countries, covering a wide range of sectors, with an annual meeting of 30 reps throughout Europe.

“The meeting was a great success, lessons were learned by all parties, the many problems we face in the UK and Europe are mirrored by our brothers and sisters in the US,” said Sole.

The union council produced a newsletter that will be distributed to the unions' members at Honeywell.

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