The City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the locked out National Grid gas workers in a vote of 8-0 on Monday night, adding to the numbers of elected officials now supporting the workers – who have been locked out in a contract dispute for 12 weeks.
Ray Bell of Chelsea – who has lived here for 45 years – came before the Council as one of the locked out workers. He said it’s a matter of public safety, as the replacement workers are not trained or experienced enough to carry out the work they’re doing.
“This is a matter of public safety,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. This is not a labor issue. The workers trained and experienced need to be in the ground fixing our pipes. This is a no-brainer. It’s putting Chelsea people first…They’ll bury their mistakes. It may not go off now. Maybe it goes off in two months or two years. It could be a disaster. I’m telling you they don’t have experienced and trained people working on these gas pipes.”
Former Councillor Paul Murphy – whose brother is currently locked out – said he doesn’t want to see a disaster either.
“Knowing the work they’re doing on our streets, there could be a disaster here,” he said. “It is a labor dispute, but a different one because they’re locked out. They want to work.”
Councillors were very much in support of the measure despite a miscue last month at a special meeting when the matter didn’t pass due to Councillor Bob Bishop objecting to it. At a special meeting, one objection to a matter can kill it.
On Monday, Bishop said he didn’t oppose the matter, but had concerns last month due to the fact that it conflicted with the charter. Now, he said, the new draft of the resolution was free of any such conflicts.