Negotiations on Hold with United Steelworkers Locals 12003 and 12012-04
National Grid has deployed a workforce of management employees and outside contractors to staff its natural gas operations in Massachusetts after months-long negotiations between the company and United Steelworkers Local 12003 and 12012-04 failed to yield new contracts.
The existing agreements expired at 11:59 p.m. June 24. The company negotiated with the unions for five hours past the deadline, and activated its business contingency plan after the unions rejected all offers.
“Safe and reliable natural gas service will continue even though an agreement has not yet been reached,” said Marcy Reed, president of National Grid in Massachusetts. “We have a substantial, well-trained workforce that is qualified to safely and efficiently maintain our local gas system until this is resolved.
“We have been bargaining in good faith for months, and we believe the benefits in our last proposal were robust,” said Reed. “We are disappointed that Locals 12003 and 12012-04 were unwilling to come to an agreement before the current contracts expired. We’re committed to reaching a fair agreement, in a reasonable timeframe, that balances the needs of both our employees and our customers.”
Without contractual “no strike” protections in place, the company cannot accept the risk of the union’s 1,250 employees working; it jeopardizes the safety of employees, customers, and the public.
A comprehensive work contingency plan is in place to enable continued operations. National Grid has skilled management employees from throughout the company’s service areas and contracted resources that have been assigned to handle all emergency calls and other essential tasks normally covered by the union workers.
The union work stoppage will continue until there is a final agreement on new labor contracts between the company and the unions that are ratified by union membership and fully executed by both parties.
Employees who work in other regions of the company’s natural gas and electrical business operations remain largely unaffected by this work stoppage. National Grid is prepared to deploy additional personnel to effectively respond to any emergencies if needed.
With its contingency workforce in place, National Grid will continue to respond to any gas emergencies that arise, but there will be delays in non-emergency related services. Customers should be aware of the following:
- Safety is always our number one priority.
- If you smell gas, get out. After leaving the house and reaching a safe environment, call the National Grid 24-hour gas emergency number: 1-800-233-5325 or call 911.
- If you detect carbon monoxide in your home or facility, leave immediately and contact 911.
- Customers should always ask to see the identification of anyone attempting to gain entrance to their home — especially if the customer did not initiate a service call. If someone requesting entry into your home or place of business does not show an ID card, do not let them in.
- Customers can expect delays in non-emergency related services. However, essential services such as emergency service requests, reports of no gas, and requests to turn on the gas will be handled promptly during this time by other company personnel.
- You may provide your reading, pay your bill and access other account services online at www.nationalgridus.com or by using our automated telephone services at 800-233-5325.