BOSTON (CBS) – Hours after reaching a deal to end a six month lockout, Jamie Long fought back tears.
“Today, I called home and said we have a deal. And it’s finally over. My wife and children felt relief, like every other family in the local,” said Long in Dorchester Monday.
Long was one of 1250 workers stuck in a labor dispute with National Grid. Union workers from the Boston Gas Union and USW Local 12012 have been out of a job since June. Around 900 USW Local 12003 members work for National Grid. The union is the largest gas local in New England, servicing 36 cities and towns.
At the center of the gridlock: worker safety, higher wages, plus pensions and benefits for retirees and next generation workers.
“We didn’t accomplish all our goals but we accomplished the majority of goals in regards to protecting the next generation of workers. And we’re pretty proud of that fact,” said Boston Local #12003 President Joe Kirylo.
The 6-year-agreement was signed Monday morning. Aside from protecting benefits, the deal will create more safety jobs and increase wages by 27% over the length of the contract.
“We increased the number of pipeline inspectors. We made major advances in damage prevention and again [it’s] because we stood up,” said Kirylo.
In a phone conference with reporters, National Grid President Marcy Reed said the company wants to move forward and work in solidarity with the unions.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead to mend relationships with our employees, to address connection issues that have been delayed, to implement new contract terms and of course all while continuing to serve our customers,” said Reed.
The 1250 workers will return to work the week of January 20th.