Senate Passes Legislation Extending Unemployment Insurance for Locked-out National Grid Workers

“It is imperative that the legislature moves quickly to protect these locked out workers “said Senator James T. Welch (D-West Springfield).  “Every conversation we have had with workers has the same theme: they want to work and they want to provide for their families, but they can’t because of National Grid’s unseemly business tactics. Hopefully this bill will not only protect workers, but give them the solid footing they need to continue their contract negotiations.”

We have considered a range of options, and believe the bill we put forward is practical, feasible, and able to be implemented quickly, ensuring that these families incur no break in unemployment benefits,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “It is our hope that this action will provide some relief and peace of mind for those workers who want nothing more than to get back to work.  We strongly encourage both parties to continue their negotiations and resolve this issue, without this issue as a pawn at the negotiating table.”

This legislation is designed to address the concerns of the approximately 1,250 workers scheduled to stop receiving UI benefits on January 14, 2019 because of the ongoing National Grid lockout.  Under this legislation, benefits would be paid out through the existing unemployment insurance system, and will impact the experience rating of the employer engaged in the lockout, resulting in higher UI costs for that employer going forward.

Senate Bill 2692 now goes to the House for consideration.