National Grid's months-long lockout of its gas workers is ending, after two unions voted Monday to ratify a tentative contract agreement.
The five-and-a-half-year deal covers approximately 1,250 workers and replaces a contract that expired June 24, 2018, the utility said in a statement.
The tentative agreement was reached last week. Employees will return to work the week of Jan. 20.
John Buonopane, president of United Steelworkers Local 12012, and Joe Kirylo, president of USW Local 12003, said in a joint statement that members voted "overwhelmingly" for the deal.
"This contract provides a significant wage increase and a number of other crucial protections for workers," the two labor leaders said. "Just as important, the agreement safeguards the future workforce and includes a number of provisions that will enhance the safety of our communities — including the creation of dozens of public-safety related jobs."
In National Grid's statement, President Marcy Reed said utility officials "made the progress we had set out to make on healthcare and transitioning new hires to 401(k) plans. In return, we agreed on a number of issues that were important to the unions."
Reed said National Grid officials recognize that the lockout, which has stretched more than six months, "has been challenging," and they're "looking forward to our union employees’ return to work, and resuming normal operations for the benefit of the customers."
A real estate group has warned it could take as long as two years for National Grid to catch up on all the work it's missed since the utility locked out workers.