MASSACHUSETTS AG: NATIONAL GRID TO PAY ABOUT $2M IN SETTLEMENT

(The following is a reformatted version of a press release
issued by the Office of the Attorney General of Massachusetts
and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by
the sender.) 
September 26, 2013 
NATIONAL GRID TO PAY APPROXIMATELY TWO MILLION FOR FAILING TO
TIMELY PAY WORKERS DURING AND AFTER HURRICANE SANDY 
Payroll Issues Left Hundreds of Workers Uncompensated for Weeks;
Global Settlement includes Penalties and Hardship Payments to
Workers 
BOSTON - Nearly a year after payroll issues left hundreds
uncompensated for work performed in the wake of Hurricane Sandy,
National Grid has agreed to pay approximately two million
dollars in penalties and damages to its workers to settle
allegations that it violated the state’s wage and hour laws,
Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. 
“These workers provided a vital service during a storm that
knocked out power for thousands of families,” AG Coakley said.
“Many workers went unpaid or underpaid for weeks and suffered
financial hardship for months as these payroll issues were being
rectified. Our focus was to secure payment for the more than two
thousand workers who suffered hardship from these delayed
payments, and today’s action does that. We want to thank
National Grid for stepping up to the plate to take
responsibility and resolve this matter.” 
Under the terms of the global settlement agreement, National
Grid will pay $270,000 in penalties to the Commonwealth and more
than $1.5 million in damages to affected hourly employees to
reflect the hardship, inconvenience and any interest that may
have accrued as a result of the company’s untimely wage payment
issues.  This includes more than 2,000 employees who will
receive lump sum payments of $750 each in damages.  These
payments are in addition to the full payment of wages, which
National Grid rectified in early 2013. 
The global settlement resolves both actions by the Attorney
General’s Office and three unions, the Utility Workers Union of
America (UWUA), the United Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW), and the
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). National
Grid cooperated with the AG’s investigation. 
In November 2012, National Grid’s new pay system encountered
technical difficulties that resulted in a host of pay related
issues, largely in connection with compensation for work
performed during and after Hurricane Sandy. Thousands of
problems were identified company-wide including the failure to
pay wages in a timely manner to National Grid’s employees who
worked to ensure that residents of Massachusetts and neighboring
states had their power restored. 
Many workers suffered financial stress and hardship from not
getting paid on time, sometimes for weeks. For example, multiple
employees who had financial payments directly debited from their
pay - including payments for child support, alimony or college
tuition - received warning letters for failure to meet those
obligations because of National Grid’s payroll problems. 
Initially, National Grid set a self-imposed target date of
December 14 to correct the pay issues. After that date had
passed, AG Coakley sent a letter calling for the energy company
to rectify all wage issues no later than December 21 or face
further action by the AG.  When the issues were not resolved, AG
Coakley announced that her office would fine National Grid
$270,000 for failing to pay wages on time, and reserved the
right to impose additional penalties if the pay problems were
not rectified in a timely manner. Despite the company’s efforts
to resolve the pay system’s failures, systemic untimely wage
payment and related record keeping problems persisted through
January 2013. 
The global settlement announced today resolves the violations
associated with the AG’s investigation, as well as actions
brought by the three unions.  Under the agreement, National Grid
may not pass on to ratepayers any of the costs associated with
the settlement. 
This matter was handled by Jocelyn B. Jones, Deputy Chief of AG
Coakley’s Fair Labor Division. AG Coakley wants to acknowledge
the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) and the United
Steelworkers, AFL-CIO (USW) for the tremendous assistance
provided throughout this complex investigation. The AG’s office
also worked cooperatively with the New York Attorney General’s
Office on a parallel investigation into similar issues affecting
New York workers. 
MEDIA CONTACT:
Grant Woodman
(617) 727-2543 
(bjh) NY 
#<873920.660640.3.9.0.0.76>#
 
 
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