Lockout of Gas Workers to be Focus of Legislative Hearing

BOSTON (AP) — Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would require National Grid to provide health insurance to locked-out gas workers and prohibit public funds from flowing to the company until the labor dispute ends.

The bill scheduled for a legislative hearing on Tuesday is another sign of growing impatience among lawmakers over the lockout of 1,200 workers that began back in June.

Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo is among those who have urged National Grid to end the lockout. State regulators already moved to temporarily bar the utility from performing any non-emergency gas work after a pressurization incident caused gas service to be shut off to hundreds of Woburn homes in October.

National Grid says union leaders have refused to budge on key issues. Negotiations were expected to resume on Monday.

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