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Congressman Says Locked-Out Gas Workers Needed to Fix Explosion Damage

October 17, 2018

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

SALEM, Mass.—The Congressmember representing northeast Massachusetts is calling on local utilities to use locked-put gas workers to repair damage from the more than 80 explosions and fires caused by overpressurized gas lines last month. More than 1,000 workers at National Grid had been locked out for more than two months when the disaster hit Columbia Gas customers in North Andover, Andover, and Lawrence Sept. 13. In a letter released Oct. 10, Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Salem) urged the two companies and the state Department of Public Utilities to find a way to put the locked-out workers, members of United Steelworkers Local 12003 and Local 12012, to work “as quickly as possible.” The two unions, he said, have “repeatedly offered” hundreds of their workers to help the Merrimack Valley recovery effort, and it “is too important to keep so much manpower and technical expertise on the sidelines.” Given the severity of the damage,” he added, “many of our residents will not have functioning heat in their home as fall temperatures begin to drop.” Meanwhile, the Department of Public Utilities on Oct. 8 ordered National Grid to stop all work except emergency operations, after a gas line in Woburn was overpressurized.  Read more

October 17, 2018

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