Massachusetts House lawmakers are considering a bill that would create a separate benefit program for workers locked out during collective bargaining negotiations.
Under the proposal, all costs of the benefit program would be assessed to the employer who locked out their workers. The bill would also ban an employer from passing on the costs of the program to ratepayers.
The bill is a reaction to the decision by National Grid to lock out gas workers during an ongoing labor dispute.
Democratic House Speaker Robert DeLeo said Tuesday that such a lockout is even more egregious when it's taken by a public utility granted a territorial monopoly by the state.
National Grid says union leaders have refused to budge on key issues. The lockout of 1,200 workers began in June.