National Grid gas workers who have been locked out of their jobs amid a tense contract dispute have been cleared to assist with recovery efforts for the Merrimack Valley.
Approximately 1,250 gas workers were locked out of their jobs since the summer and hundreds have picketed the lock in opposition since. After the workers' union rejected a new work contract with the electrical company, National Grid barred the workers from returning.
The Merrimack Valley was devasted by a series of explosions in September that resulted in the death of one man, injured more than 20 people and prompted thousands of residents to evacuate.
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Now, Andover, North Andover and Lawrence are recovering from the disaster as Columbia Gas crews work to restore nearly 50 miles of pipelines.