MILFORD, Mass., July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday, July 26, to ratify a new two-year contract with National Grid.
The agreement covers about 1,100 members of USW Local 12003 and Local 12012-04. The workers maintain infrastructure, repair gas leaks and respond to emergency calls in more than 80 cities and towns across Massachusetts.
"This important work will continue to be performed by highly skilled and experienced members of the USW. This is good news both for the workers and the people of Massachusetts," said USW District 4 Director John Shinn.
National Grid, based in Warwick, England, began negotiations with a long list of proposed concessions, but the USW was able to preserve retirement and retiree health care benefits for new hires, protect jobs, expand employment opportunities, and increase health and safety protections for workers and the public.
"This was a very challenging round of negotiations, but the leadership of our two local presidents, John Buonopane and Joe Kirylo, the strength and solidarity of the membership, as well as the support we received from other working families in the community, local public safety officials and elected officials across the state, were the keys to reaching a fair contract," said USW Sub-District Director Steve Finnigan, who led the union's bargaining committee.
The USW and its allies waged a global campaign for a fair contract, which included members of Unite the Union in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Unite members held solidarity events to show support for USW members throughout the bargaining process.
"We are thankful for the outpouring of support we received, and we look forward to working with National Grid to make sure that well-trained workers continue to be on the front lines to safeguard the health and safety of the people of Massachusetts," Shinn said.
USW District 4 represents thousands of union members in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Puerto Rico. The USW is the largest industrial union in North America, representing workers in industries including metals, mining, rubber, paper and forestry, oil refining, health care, security, hotels, and municipal governments and agencies.