By Bob Katzen

The House approved and sent to the Senate a bill requiring the state to set up an employer-funded benefit plan for employees locked out in a labor dispute. The bill was approved as more than 1,200 National Grid employees are still locked out of their jobs and whose unemployment benefits are scheduled to run out in January. Under the program, locked out workers would receive the same weekly amount they are now receiving under the state’s current unemployment system until the lockout is resolved. All costs of the program would be paid by the employer who would be prohibited from passing that cost along to ratepayers.

“I’m glad that the House advanced a bill … to create a program to extend the benefits for these workers,” said House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “In addition to providing relief and security to these workers and their families, we built in protections for taxpayers and ratepayers — assuring that the cost of these benefits falls solely on the employer responsible for the lockout.”

National Grid President Marcy Reed did not respond to repeated requests by Beacon Hill Roll Call for a comment.

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