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USWA: BOSTON GAS WORKERS TELL PARENT COMPANY SHAREHOLDERS: 'TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS, END THE LOCK-OUT'

 BOSTON, April 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of the 1,100 Boston Gas workers locked out of their jobs for over 12 weeks spoke to shareholders of Boston Gas' parent company, Eastern Enterprises, at its corporate shareholders meeting today, the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) said.
 "Our message is clear," said Peter diCicco, secretary-treasurer of the AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department on behalf of the gas workers' union, the United Steelworkers of America, "This lock-out is bad for the public who depend on the workers for a safe dependable energy source, it's bad for the skilled workers who provide the service, and it's bad for the company and its shareholders whose investment is threatened by this heavy-handed and out-dated management practice."
 The USWA shareholders were only allotted a total of five minutes among them to address the annual meeting, despite an invitation by the company to the USWA local union presidents to speak on behalf of the locked-out gas workers. Consequently, only diCicco was provided sufficient time to speak, the union said. Questions raised by non-USWA shareholders about the lockout and diCicco's presentation were cut off without comment, the union said.
 Following the shareholders meeting, the USWA local union president spoke with reporters about the issues.
 Janet McDonough, president of the 200-member Local 12007 (USWA) told shareholders, "We do not begrudge Boston Gas' ability to return a robust profit, as long as it's achieved through growth and hard work -- and not at the expense of hard-working, loyal employees."
 Health care coverage for the 1,100 workers, whose average length of service is 24 years with Boston Gas, has been cut off by the company, the union said. McDonough asked shareholders, "How do you explain to a worker undergoing cancer treatment, or a worker who's spent a lifetime with the company that they have no health care coverage?"
 Local 12003 (USWA) President Paul Hannon, representing 900 locked-out workers, outlined the serious long-term consequences for the company, a public utility whose financial fortunes are regularly affected by actions of public authorities.
 "Already we've seen the legislature overwhelmingly pass the anti-lock-out bill," Hannon noted. "And municipalities like Boston, Quincy, Weymouth and Whitman voting to halt payments of bills to the company. It's just not good business or sound management to initiate this conflict."
 The union released a letter from Boston Mayor Raymond Flynn to Boston Gas' President Chester Messer urging the company to bargain in good faith. Flynn wrote Messer, "Do whatever is necessary to put these hard-working men and women back to work so that their families and their children do not continue to be victimized by this protracted lock-out."
 "We want to go back to work," said Local 12007 Secretary Karen Moynihan. "If a company that made $27 million in profit can afford to spend $650,000 on painting that gas tank, they can afford to provide decent, affordable health care coverage for the workers."
 Patty Brady, a service worker at Boston Gas attending a union rally outside the shareholders meeting said, "This fight isn't just about gas workers. Because if this large and profitable company can get away with locking out workers and cutting off their health care, some other company could do the same to your or some members of your family. We're now, you're next."
 -0- 4/22/93
 /CONTACT: Ben Doherty or Karen Moynihan, 617-848-2865, or David Sandretti, 617-633-2759, all of USWA/


CO: Boston Gas; Eastern Enterprises; AFL-CIO; United Steelworkers of
 America ST: Massachusetts IN: UTI SU:


CD-KC -- PG013 -- 9565 04/22/93 14:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 22, 1993
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