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Long Island National Grid Workers Authorize Strike Over Contract Negotiations

Power Lines
Erika Wittlieb

National Grid could face an imminent strike as early as Sunday after Long Island union workers voted over the weekend to authorize the labor action.

A union meeting was called after contract negotiations had broken down between the utility company and Local 1049 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, a union representing over 1,100 natural gas and power plant workers on Long Island.

According to a union statement, about 800 members attended Saturday’s vote with COVID-19 precautions in place. Union members listened to leaders through their car radios, maintained social distancing, and had to wear masks at the event in Holtsville. They even had to bring their own pens to fill out their paper ballots.

Union spokesperson Patrick Guidice told Newsday that of the members who voted, an 85% majority supported authorizing a strike. The current contract is set to expire this Saturday at midnight.

In 2015, the company and its workers had reached a contract agreement after 10 weeks of deliberation, three hours before the union had planned to strike. National Grid’s power plants and natural gas infrastructure provide services for over 600,000 customers.