Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ask a CEO about union busting, get manhandled

Honeywell CEO David Cote was speaking at a cozy little confab on Capitol Hill when a reporter asked him about his 14-month lockout of uranium workers. The video above shows what happened. Reports The Republic Report:
Mike Elk, a journalist for In These Times magazine, was called on during the question and answer portion of a morning panel to ask David Cote, the CEO of Honeywell, about his efforts to bust labor unions at a Honeywell-owned uranium plant. Elk asked Cote, who earlier in the event boasted about his company’s profit margins, about his labor practices and the recent news that a poorly trained worker used to replaced Honeywell’s organized workforce had allowed a release of radioactive gas. But before he could finish his question, a man in a suit working for the event repeatedly grabbed the microphone away from Elk.
A few worthwhile observations from The Republic Report:
The confrontation was a dramatic example of how powerful elites can cocoon themselves away from regular people, even critical press. The room this morning was filled with lobbyists and lawyers, rather than regular small business owners. For much of the conference, Sean O’Hollaren, Honeywell’s chief lobbyist, circled the event, shaking hands with congressmen and greeting attendees. Unlike Elk, who was physically pushed and threatened outside the event after asking his question, the lobbyists enjoyed comfortable access to the CEOs and elites in the room.
Last year, Honeywell was identified as one of the biggest recipients of special tax deals from the government. The company actually spends more on lobbying than it pays in corporate taxes. This preferential treatment, for a company that makes billions in profits, is due in large part to Honeywell’s close relationship with members of Congress.