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

Fri, 12/21/2018

Tara Smith, Communications Director
Office of Sen. Pat Jehlen
Senate Passes Legislation Extending Unemployment Insurance for Locked-out National Grid Workers
BOSTON - The Massachusetts State Senate yesterday passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits for locked out National Grid workers for up to 26 additional weeks, or until National Grid workers are no longer locked out, whichever comes first. The benefits would be part of the existing unemployment insurance (UI) system.
“This bill would help relieve the immense pressure that the loss of income and health insurance places on the National Grid workers to give up important benefits, accept higher out-of-pocket health care costs, and deny defined benefit pensions to future workers,” said Senator Pat Jehlen (D-Somerville). “Unions have benefited all of us and helped build the middle class. They have raised employment standards for everyone, not just their own members. They are now our main bulwark against the erosion of the middle class.”

“This lockout by National Grid of their union employees has been unjust from the very start, but it is truly egregious how long this has continued to last,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett). “These National Grid employees have been without salaries and health insurance for over six months now, and this bill passed by the Senate is meant to offset the enormous burden that has been placed on the workers and their families. I am proud to stand with the locked out gas workers as they continue to fight for their benefits, health insurance, and our public safety.” 
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.
The bill now goes to the House for consideration.