Eversource Energy has narrowly averted a strike by reaching a new three-year contract with the United Steelworkers, Local 12004, for nearly 275 gas workers in Central and Eastern Massachusetts.
The previous contract expired Friday.
Kathy Laflash, the local’s president, said the union had voted Feb. 8 to authorize a strike and was close to walking out. One big point of contention, she said, involved Eversource’s outsourcing plans. But at the eleventh hour — 11:10 p.m. Friday, to be exact — members were told not to picket at midnight and instead to report to work.
Representatives of both sides worked until the early morning hours on Saturday, reaching a tentative deal at 3 a.m.
Union members ratified the contract in a Sunday vote. “
“This new contract allows us to continue to provide safe and reliable service to our customers, along with competitive wages and benefits to our employees,” Eversource spokesman Michael Durand said in an e-mail. He declined to disclose terms of the contract, but said it includes annual pay increases, comprehensive health benefits, and access to company retirement savings plans.