Gas workers off the job after contract talks stall

BOSTON (AP) — The union representing natural gas workers for National Grid says the company has locked out more than 1,000 employees in dozens of Massachusetts communities.

The company says it had no choice but to take the action on Monday after months of unsuccessful negotiations with two locals represented by the United Steel Workers.

The union contends National Grid is jeopardizing the safety of residents by locking out workers who maintain and repair natural gas infrastructure.

Union leaders say the company’s contract proposals “threaten public safety and drive down wages.”

National Grid counters it would have been too dangerous to allow workers to stay on the job after the most recent contract expired at midnight.

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The company says it has activated a contingency plan for “safe and reliable natural gas service.”