U.S. mediators report tentative deal in Honeywell Illinois dispute

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2015 5:32 PM

(Reuters) - A tentative agreement has been reached in a labor dispute at a Honeywell International Inc uranium conversion plant in Illinois, potentially ending a work stoppage that began last August, federal mediators said on Saturday.

Production and maintenance employees at the Metropolis, Illinois, plant who are members of United Steelworkers Local 7-669 have been locked out since Aug. 2 after a three-year contract expired.

In a statement, the U.S. Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) said it asked the parties to return to the bargaining table with federal mediation on Wednesday. "Working under the auspices of FMCS mediators, the union and employer reached a tentative agreement after many hours of intense talks," the statement said.

The mediation service said the tentative agreement is subject to ratification. It provided no details on the agreement.

Honeywell's Metropolis plant is the only U.S. facility that converts uranium oxide into to uranium hexafluoride, which is then enriched to be used as fuel in nuclear power plants.

"We are extremely pleased that we were able to help the union and employer overcome their differences in these challenging and complex negotiations," Allison Beck, FMCS acting director, said in the statement.

"Representatives from both sides were willing to put in the long hours that were required, and ultimately they were successful in reaching a mutually acceptable agreement," Beck said.

(Reporting by Will Dunham in Washington; Editing by David Gregorio)