BENEFITS FOR LOCKED OUT GAS WORKERS BILL APPROVED

By Bob Katzen

On Christmas Eve the House and Senate approved and sent to Gov. Baker a bill extending unemployment benefits to workers during a lockout until the lockout has ended. The bill was filed in response to the current lockout of more than 1,200 National Grid workers which began in June but applies to all workers locked out of any job. These workers will run out of their initial six-month unemployment compensation in January. The cost of the extended benefits would be paid by all employers in the state who currently pay into the unemployment insurance system.

The House originally favored tapping the utility responsible for the lockout to cover the unemployment costs while the Senate preferred using the existing unemployment insurance system to cover the costs. The House finally agreed with the Senate. The measure prohibits utility companies that lock out their workers from passing on the costs to ratepayers of any additional unemployment insurance assessments the imposed on the employer.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is grateful for the Legislature acting quickly and will now carefully review the legislation while looking forward to both sides reaching a compromise to end the lockout this week,” said Baker spokesman Brendan Moss.

ONE FINAL LOOK AT THE 2017-2018 LEGISLATURE – As we say goodbye to the 2017-2018 Legislature, let’s take a final look at the composition of both branches. The first number listed applies to the Senate and the second number applies to the House. Figures are courtesy of Craig Sandler and David Art of the Massachusetts Political Almanac.

80 and 77
Age of the oldest senator and representative

31 and 23
Age of the youngest senator and representative

38 percent and 28 percent
Percent of senators and representatives whose only job is being a legislator

15 percent and 15 percent
Percent of senators and representatives who are attorneys

4 percent and 4 percent
Percent of senators and representatives who are small business owners

100 percent and 97 percent
The percent of senators and representatives who are college graduates

64 percent and 43 percent
Percent of senators and representatives who have advanced degrees

78 percent and 72 percent
Percent of senators and representatives who were born in Massachusetts

0 percent and 19 percent
Percent of senators and representatives who were born outside the U.S.

27.5 percent and 21.3 percent
Percent of women in the Senate and House

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