National Grid, union fail to reach agreement
As self-imposed deadline passes, utility makes revised offer
NATIONAL GRID and the two union locals representing 1,250 locked-out steelworkers failed to negotiate a new contract by their self-imposed deadline of Friday, but the two sides have agreed to keep meeting.
The utility and the unions issued a joint statement at 12:30 a.m. Saturday that provided little information on why they had failed to reach an agreement.
“The company presented the unions with a revised offer at 11:30 p.m. Friday. Given the lateness of the hour, the parties broke for the evening and have agreed to schedule meetings for the unions to respond formally to the company’s offer,” the joint statement said.It was unclear whether the joint statement was a hopeful sign that a new contract was imminent or whether the two sides were at an impasse. A week ago the utility said it would refrain from making a new contract offer to focus on reaching an overall agreement. The two sides set Friday as a deadline to reach an agreement. That effort was unsuccessful, so the company went ahead and made a new contract offer.
The unemployment benefits of the National Grid workers are scheduled to run out in mid-January. Lawmakers last week passed and sent to Gov. Charlie Baker legislation to extend the benefits another 26 weeks or to whenever the lockout ends, whichever comes sooner. Baker had indicated he would sign the legislation but on Monday a spokesman said the governor would review the legislation carefully while monitoring the progress of the labor negotiations.