July 12--National Grid will be cut out from consideration for any permits on new gas construction projects while the company's lockout of more than a thousand workers continues.
The measure, which was introduced by Councilor-at-large Sean Powers, was adopted by the council unanimously at Monday night's meeting.
"A prolonged lockout of National Grid gas workers raises safety concerns for the general public and strains service to National Grid customers," the resolution read, before going on to say that Braintree will heightened scrutiny, safety inspections and monitoring of all National Grid work in town being done during the lockout.
Joe Kirylo, the president of United Steelworkers Local 12003, said picketing will continue on Quincy Ave., outside the National Grid building while the lockout continues. He said the laborers in the union want to get back to work.
"The company is still staying with their final offer, so there's no movement in that regard," he said.
National Grid workers have been picketing at the firm's Braintree location since June 25.
National Grid has been seeking to cut gas workers' health care benefits, change how overtime is allocated and outsource certain work like meter changes and cut pensions for new employees, which labor unions have been pushing back on. When the company's contract with gas workers expired last month, National Grid executives made the decision to lock out 1,100 workers across the state.
Kirylo said some members of the union, like Brian Harvey, saw their health benefits cut off abruptly during the lockout. Harvey, a member of USW Local 12003, has recently had his young son diagnosed with and aggressive form cancer that had traveled from his kidney to his lymph nodes.
Harvey has since starred in YouTube videos showing the plight of his family during the lockout.
"What kind of company that's making billions and billions in profits does such a thing?" Kirylo said. "What kind of company would move forward in such a cruel way?"
With the council's resolution, Braintree becomes the fourth town in the state to take a public stand against National Grid during the lockout. Lowell, Malden and Medford have also passed similar resolutions.
Grade 1 leaks, which are considered the most serious gas leaks, will continue to be worked on within the town by National Grid during the lockout.
Kirylo said the locked out workers remain 'very determined' in making sure the next generation of National Grid workers gets the same benefits as more tenured workers.
"We have a very good campaign going on social media," he said. "Lots of politicians have come to support us."
Kirylo said National Grid refused to make any changes to their initial contract offer in the first meeting between locked out workers and the firm since June.
In a joint statement with John Buonopane, the leader of USW Local 12012, the union said 'this kind of recklessness harms workers, customers, and residents alike.'
Braintree is one of several towns where locked out workers continue to picket. National Grid Facilities in Dorchester, Lowell, Malden, Waltham have also seen the picket lines.
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