Mothers in Massachusetts respond to National Grid's lockout of union gas workers:
To National Grid:
We at Mothers Out Front are deeply concerned about National Grid's lockout of union gas workers. As members of a national movement of mothers and others mobilizing for a livable climate and protecting the health and safety of all children, we urge you to resolve the issue quickly. While we are outside of the negotiations and can’t comment on the details of the dispute, we are concerned for the workers, their families and the communities you serve.
We are fully committed to the Shared Action Plan we developed with you to identify and prioritize fixing the largest gas leaks (just 7%) that are emitting 50% of the leaked methane. Methane is a highly potent greenhouse gas that is warming our planet and altering our climate at an alarming rate. Last year, together with researchers, other activists, and the three largest utilities in Massachusetts, including National Grid, we agreed on this Plan as the most effective way to decrease emissions for the least cost and disruption.
We know you’re proud of your part in the Plan we made together. We know you are committed to reducing emissions, but you say that fixing the largest leaks is off the table while the lockout continues. We expect you will resolve the labor dispute quickly and allow this urgent work to go forward.
The leak problem is bigger than just the largest gas leaks and their environmental impact. According to your own data, you repaired more than 6,500 potentially explosive leaks last year in the communities you serve, leaving 8,880 other leaks unprepared. You cannot afford to reduce your care, speed and vigilance in repairing these leaks.
In addition to the fact that you need to take immediate action to reduce emissions from this large inventory of leaks, your decision to lock out workers and suspend their healthcare benefits, particularly when the Boston Globe reports your 24% profit increase, creates public distrust of National Grid and impedes all of us from working together on solutions.
We are genuinely troubled about the impact of the lockout on the union workers and their families. We believe the workers should be valued for their expertise and the risks they take. Our concern about harm to our shared climate and our children's future includes the current and future well-being of the union workers as well as the health and safety of everyone, including people who work for a utility in whatever capacity.
For the sake of all, please resolve this dispute quickly.