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updated: 8/2/2011 10:13 AM

Locked-out union members voting on Honeywell deal

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Associated Press

METROPOLIS -- Locked-out workers of a southern Illinois plant that helps make nuclear fuel are voting on a three-year contract proposal.

The ratification vote began at 5 a.m. Tuesday and was to go for 12 hours. The contract proposal was reached about two weeks ago between bargainers for Honeywell and its 230 affected workers in Metropolis.

Results are expected to be announced Tuesday evening. If the contract is approved, it isn't clear how soon the workers might return to their jobs after the 13-month lockout, given that they first have to undergo federally mandated retraining.

Terms of the deal haven't been released. But the union local's president says the contract retains the workers' job seniority.

The Metropolis plant begins refining uranium for eventual use in nuclear power plants.