On August 22, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz formally dedicated the $687 million National Security Campus housing the Honeywell-operated plant that makes parts for nuclear weapons. The new plant located at Missouri 150 and Botts Road in Kansas City had a special ceremony celebrating its creation of 2,600 jobs. PeaceWorks Kansas City protested the dedication with a staged funeral procession, including a casket and black armbands. We especially remembered in prayer the over 250 employees at the former nuclear parts plant who lost their lives due to illnesses stemming from working at the plant. I was especially moved by the words of Maurice Copeland, a former employee of the Bannister Plant, tell his story. I pondered his words as I carried the casket in procession around the new campus and wondered about the further death this new plant represents, deaths caused by the further development and use of nuclear weapons. The work of manufacturing nuclear parts had been done at the old Honeywell Plant at Bannister Federal Complex. Maurice worked at Honeywell in Kansas City where many unskilled black workers were offered good paying jobs. Little did they know the working conditions would effect their health in a terrible way. It was not until this Summer that Honeywell finally admitted Maurice and his coworkers were exposed to harmful chemicals at the Bannister Federal Complex many years ago. As we approach Labor Day, let’s pray for all laborers past and present that they may have justice in the workplace.
Jobs for Justice is bringing KC fast food workers together again to demonstrate in support of $15 per hour and a union for workers at franchises such as McDonald’s. Please join us on Thursday, Sept. 4th at 11:30AM in Grove Park, Truman Road and Benton Boulevard.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.