BOSTON — “If we stay strong we will get what we want,” United Steelworkers Local 12003 President Joe Kirylo told 1,500 locked-out Steelworkers and their supporters who marched from City Hall to a spirited rally at the Massachusetts Statehouse here July 18. Three weeks earlier National Grid, a giant utility company, locked out its 1,200 natural gas workers organized by USW Locals 12003 and 12012 when their contract expired June 24.
One of the key reasons the workers refused the bosses’ concession contract offer was their demand for big cuts in the pension plan for new hires.
“This lockout is about two things — public safety and the next generation of workers,” USW Local 12012 President John Buonopane told the rally.
National Grid also wants to cut all workers’ medical coverage and replace union workers with nonunion subcontractors for jobs like swapping out meters.
A week after National Grid locked out its workers, the bosses ended their insurance coverage.
The Greater Boston Labor Council called the action, which was endorsed by over 40 area unions from the building trades to the teachers.
“It’s important to support the National Grid workers,” Doris Reina-Landaverde, a Salvadoran-born Harvard University janitor and Service Employees International Union member, told the Militant at the rally.
Protest participants were interested in the Militant’s labor and working-class political news, picking up 23 copies and 10 subscriptions.