News Release

Journalist Questioning Honeywell CEO Stifled, Police Investigating Incident

On Thursday, journalist Mike Elk attempted to ask a tough question of Honeywell CEO David Cote at an event at the U.S. Capitol, but the microphone was ripped fromhis hand. See video, which has gotten 50,000 views on YouTube:

MIKE ELK, mike at inthesetimes.com, @MikeElk
A reporter for In These Times magazine, Elk said today: “On Friday President Obama appeared with Honeywell CEO David Cote at Honeywell’s Minneapolis facility for an event on the economy. While Cote claims Honeywell’s profitability is due to innovation, much of it actually rests on union busting that risks the safety of the public. I attempted to ask Cote about this on Thursday, but was blocked from doing so. Today, the Capitol police informed me they are investigating the incident. Here’s what happened:

“For the last two years, I have covered union busting efforts by Honeywell, their close connections to President Obama and how federal agencies have assisted Honeywell in three different labor struggles since Obama came to power. In particular, I covered a 14-month lockout at a Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Illinois, where Honeywell cheated on tests for replacement workers, one of whom later caused several releases of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. Instead of joining the picket line with the striking workers as he promised to do during his campaign, Obama decided to fly with top Democratic donor and Honeywell CEO Cote to India while the lockout was still going on. …

“On Thursday, at an event on the Hill, I began to ask Cote about the uranium release caused by a non-union engineer working a job performed by a union worker. Cote began to frown and looked annoyed with my question. Immediately, I started getting dirty stares and smirks from the room of assembled corporate lobbyists and allies. The moderator of the panel interrupted me to say ‘Sir, if I can interrupt. This is to hear from entrepreneurs.’

“Within a few seconds, Nicolas D. Muzin, a senior adviser for Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC), grabbed me and attempted to physically remove me from the room.” After he attempted to follow Cote, Elk states that “Honeywell External Communications Director Rob Ferris barricaded me in a room for several minutes and afterwards had the Capitol Police detain me. They released me after 10 minutes when they realized I had done nothing more than try to follow a CEO down a hallway. Indeed, Capitol Police asked me if I wanted to press charges against Ferris for false imprisonment for barricading me into the room. Today, I was informed they are investigating the incident.”