November 21, 2018

National Grid gas workers to offer counter-proposal Wednesday

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National Grid and representatives of its more than 1,200 locked out gas workers plan to meet for more contract talks on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving.

"The union has a comprehensive counterproposal that we think will address the company's concerns and the union's concerns," United Steel Workers Local 12012 president John Buonopane told the News Service Tuesday afternoon. "We're hoping the company takes it serious."

Buonopane declined to outline details of the counterproposal, which he said was the first official counterproposal from the union since the company updated its proposal in October. The lockout began in late June.

Both sides met last Friday. After those talks, National Grid said the union had indicated a counterproposal was in the works.

"We are anxious to see a counter-proposal from the unions. It will be the first time we've received a counter-proposal to our final offer, which the unions rejected almost five months ago," National Grid spokeswoman Danielle Williamson said in a statement.

According to National Grid, its five-year contract offer features wage increases totaling 14.5 percent, a no-layoff guarantee to all employees with five-plus years of service, and an 80 percent company contribution to health insurance premiums. The company says its contract offer compares favorably to the contracts of other utility workers, while the steel workers' union asserts the offer is unfair to workers and scales back pension offerings.

Buonopane said the talks would occur on Summer Street at the offices of a federal mediator

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