New York Attorney General Wins $5 Million for National Grid Workers
October 2, 2013
It was a big-time screw-up.
In the midst of the chaos of Hurricane Sandy, National Grid, employing thousands of IBEW members in New York and New England, decided to roll out a new computer system to account for overtime pay and expenses.
Many never got paid for hours of work that they had invested in restoring power to their communities. Syracuse, N.Y., Local 97 filed a lawsuit to restore lost wages.
On Sept. 26, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced a settlement with National Grid, committing the company to pay nearly $5 million to hourly employees. In a news release, Schneiderman said, “Some of the affected employees in this case reported that they were unable to repair their own homes after the storm because of National Grid’s underpayments … National Grid’s workers will receive some compensation—and an explanation—for the financial hardship they endured in the aftermath of the storm.”
“They looked out for the people,” Local 97 Business Manager Ted Skerpon toldSyracuse.com,lauding Schneiderman’s settlement. Local 97 is ending its lawsuit as a result of the settlement. Workers will receive $750 each.Several hundred consultants from Ernst & Young worked out of National Grid’s building in Syracuse for one year—at the company’s expense—on issues related to the computer problems, reported Syracuse.com.
Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley reached asimilar settlementfor National Grid workers in that state. The Utility Workers Union of America, the United Steelworkers and IBEW worked with Coakley’s office to document the financial losses resulting from havoc caused by National Grid’s new $365 million computer system. National Grid cooperated with both state investigations.
“In the midst of a fiery national debate over the role of government, it’s always gratifying to see public servants doing their jobs well— looking out for the interests of working families, not just the wealthy and powerful,” says International President Edwin D. Hill, praising Schneiderman and Coakley for their intervention in National Grid pay issues.