The NatGrid lockout and subsequent victory by the steelworkers union. I confess I wasn’t following it all that closely myself but was reminded of it by this Steve Tolman piece in Commonwealth Magazine where he lauds the union for sticking together:
“British-based National Grid created the crisis not because it is struggling financially or its future is in jeopardy – it made $4.8 billion after taxes last year. The utility did it simply because it believed it could. The company miscalculated badly, however, because the steelworkers did not break, holding the line while gaining strong public sympathy and political support behind them.”
This issue has both local and national significance: local because it happened here and, IMHO, the unions and the politicos did the right thing (even you Charlie Baker, and you know how much it hurts me to say that… ow) national because union strength and corporate union busting (often with political cover) are big issues.
According to the steelworkers union the lockout occurred solely at the discretion of National Grid: when contract re-negotiations stalled in the summer of 2018, the union workers were willing to extend the current contract while negotiations continued but NatGrid wasn’t having any of it. Some 200+ days later, and a lot of expense by NatGrid (mostly shipping and housing replacement workers with sufficient expertise) the lockout ended January 7 with the workers overwhelmingly ratifying a new contract.
I’m curious if the BMG hive mind has any further information on the issue and potential fallout maybe from a different perspective than that of the union (though I have not reason to doubt the unions take…). I’m particularly interested in whether or no this strengthens other unions or not. If not, why not?
I’m also curious to know why this wasn’t a bigger story. I think I know the answer to it, but I’m curious what others might think.