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No Deal Yet in National Grid Lockout

January 6, 2019

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

BOSTON, Mass.—Despite staying at the table until almost midnight, National Grid and the United Steelworkers failed to reach an agreement to end a six-month lockout by the hoped-for deadline of Dec. 28. The company presented its revised offer at 11:30 p.m., National Grid and United Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012-04 said in a joint statement, so “given the lateness of the hour, the parties broke for the evening and have agreed to schedule meetings for the unions to respond formally.” The lockout of more than 1,200 workers, which began after their contract expired June 24, has affected 85 of the 116 Massachusetts cities and towns where National Grid provides gas service, including delays in connecting new buildings to gas lines. The company has demanded that the two unions accept a health-care plan with deductibles and copayments and the elimination pensions for new workers, who would instead get a 401(k)-type plan. It cut off the locked-out workers’ health insurance on July 1. Meanwhile, Gov. Charlie Baker on Dec. 31 signed a bill to extend unemployment compensation for locked-out workers, for either 26 weeks or until the lockout has ended. The National Grid workers’ benefits will run out in mid-January. Read more

January 6, 2019

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