NEW YORK, October 9, 2014 – In a massive show of support, about a third of TWU Local 101 1,500 members rallied in front of National Grid’s headquarters in downtown Brooklyn to protest their giveback demands in current contract negotiations.
National Grid, a British-owned international company, is demanding a five-year wage freeze or else it will significantly increase the workers’ health care contributions.
TWU International President Harry Lombardo said National Grid (which the union now dubs “National Greed”) wants givebacks from the workers despite US profits of $1.7 billion last year and revenues of $24 billion world wide.
He had a fiery response.
Lombardo told the rally that last year National Grid’s CEO had a 56 percent pay rise to earn $7.8 million dollars, but it had “nothing for your 1,500 members.” He said its demand is the “worst, slimiest example of corporate greed.”
Setting a tough line, Lombardo said, “The time has come. We are with you if we have to shut this company down. We will be with you as long as it takes.”
Local 101 President Mike Conigliario declared there will be “no more givebacks. ” The workers had “nothing left to give.”
At the beginning of contract talks last month, Conigliario reminded National Grid that “during Hurricane Sandy and for months afterward – through at least January – Local 101 members worked 16-hour shifts, 7 days straight, for weeks” to bring New York’s electricity and gas back on line.
TWU Local 101 is asking for a reasonable pay increase, better on-the-job safety rules and the maintenance of current health benefits.
Roy Murphy is a regular contributor to NLN and a member of the National Writers Union, UAW Local 1981