For the past several weeks, the two sides have been unable to come to an agreement in regards to healthcare, pensions and fair wages. The lockout is becoming a public safety issue as experienced professionals are unable to perform their duties.
“These are men and women who are working for a company who has seen their profits grow exponentially, yet they are not supporting the men and women – the highly skilled men and women – who perform vital public safety [functions],” Councilor O’Malley said.
Councilor O’Malley also drew attention to the fact that having inexperienced out-of-state workers filling in for those being locked out is a danger to the City, citing, for example, a 6 inch gas line that was ruptured by new workers last Friday, an incident that might not have occurred with experienced workers. “This is a public safety issue,” O’Malley commented, “This is beyond contemptible how National Grid has treated their men and women. And this isn’t a strike, make no mistake, this is a lockout.”
Councillor Flynn thanked the workers for the work they do for both the City and the State, saying, “Our City and this body has always stood for working men and women, and for social and economic justice. Working men and women of this city deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.” He also brought up the recent Supreme Court ruling on the case of Janus v AFSCME, which ruled that non-union members cannot be compelled to pay agency fees, as they violate First Amendment rights by compelling them to support speech with which they may not agree. Councilor Flynn stated that this major turning point for workers throughout the country shows that “now, more than ever, we need to support the labor movement and stand with our working families.”
The resolution was adopted unanimously by the Council.