You might remember Honeywell CEO David Cote from this story about his role on the catfood commission.
A source familiar with the proceedings of the working group on discretionary spending tells TPM that some commissioners, including one military contractor, would prefer to save money by freezing military pay and scaling back benefits, rather than by eliminating waste in defense contracting.That raised a few eyebrows, but that's not the only problem with Cote's presence on the committee. Not by a long shot.
The source said that different members of the commission come down on different sides of the issue. The discussion group is led by Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK), whose primary aim is trimming fat on the contractor side, but, according to the source, David Cote, the Honeywell CEO who was appointed to the panel by President Obama, is pushing to find savings elsewhere.
A second member of the deficit commission is coming under fire from an ally of President Obama, as the Steelworker Organization of Active Retirees is pressing him to remove Honeywell CEO David Cote from the panel, charging that his ongoing lockout of workers makes him unfit to sit on the commission....The lockout of those workers doesn't just make him unfit for the deficit commission, but has also led the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to stop the facility's uranium enrichment production.
The specific offense that has the steelworkers calling for his dismissal is related to a lockout at the company's Metropolis, Illinois workers. Cote is attempting to cut the union's health benefits, but employees there argue that their exposure to carcinogens and toxic substances means that such insurance is necessary. Given the dangerous nature of the factory's work, the employees offered to continue working through the negotiations under the old contract, but Cote locked them out, replacing them with poorly trained temporary workers....
"A profitable company's demands that workers and retirees relinquish health benefits and its locking out workers who offered to continue demonstrate that its CEO, David Cote, is out of touch with mainstream America and has absolutely no compassion for his fellow man," they wrote. "Anyone who would force their workers onto the streets in these times of economic uncertainty cannot competently or justly serve on a Commission charged with issuing recommendations that may impact our nation's citizens for decades."
Currently, the workers running the plant are unfamiliar with the system they are using and unfamiliar with the processes. This is a uranium enrichment facility from which even the slightest leak of UF6 could wipe out the entire town.So it's no surprise that this guy who is willing to risk wiping out the town of Metropolis, Illinois and who is perfectly wiling to ruin the lives and livelihoods of his own employees also wants to also cut benefits and pay for military service members and veterans. But what is a surprise is that he's a member of the catfood commission in the first place, and remains there.
For this reason, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has not allowed the plant to resume production of UF6 according to local community and union sources. Local community and union officials claim that Honeywell is currently using all the political connections it can to force the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to re-open it.
Honeywell originally said they would start up production of the deadly UF6 on Wednesday, however, Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspectors would not allow it. The Nuclear Regulatory Inspectors informed local community and union officials that they would not allow it because on Aug. 25 a round of urine tests on workers showed an unusually high amount of uranium in workers' urine. The workers were not permitted to return to working with the uranium. Neither the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or Honeywell could be reached for comment to confirm the claims of local community members and union officials.