Durbin urges plant to settle dispute

Southern Illinoisan
July 7, 2010
By: Caleb Hale

METROPOLIS - U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin is urging an end to the labor dispute between workers and management of the Metropolis Works Plant in Massac County.

Durbin, D-Springfield, sent a letter Tuesday to United Steelworkers' President Leo Gerard and David Cole, chief executive officer of Honeywell International, which owns the Metropolis plant, urging them to end a two-week old dispute that has kept plant employees locked out of the facility.

The lockout occurred because the union and management failed to reach an agreement on a new contract.

"This is a very difficult economic environment. The current stalemate leaves many hard-working Illinois families trying to get by without their regular paychecks," Durbin said. "If this lock continues, the broader Metropolis community will be hurt."

Durbin cited Massac County's 8.9 percent unemployment rate and also noted the sensitive nature of the work done with uranium at the plant was now being handled by temporary workers unfamiliar with the facility.

U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, has also been involved in talks with both union and management at the plant. A spokesman with Costello's office said Tuesday the work is ongoing, but there is progress being made.

The plant employs 385 workers.