Conn. AG applauds decision to block layoffs at utitlities‏

Nick Rees Nov. 17, 2009, 1:20am

Richard Blumenthal (D)

HARTFORD, Conn. (Legal Newsline) - Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has announced victory in blocking layoffs at Connecticut Natural Gas and Southern Connecticut Gas that could potentially serve to jeopardize the safety of its workers and public.

"These workers - including gas technicians and dispatchers - are the first responders to gas leaks and other serious public safety hazards," Blumenthal said. "The beginning of the winter storm season - on the eve of Thanksgiving - makes this time the worst possible for layoffs of first responders critical to repairing gas leaks and other fuel problems."

The Department of Public Utility Control, which had previously ordered a temporary order to block the layoffs, has ruled that CNS and SCG cannot layoff the workers. The attempted layoffs come at a time when the DPUC is actively investigating the safety and reliability ramifications of the job cuts.

"The companies overtly overreached - trying to beat the DPUC's investigation with fast-tracked layoffs, and making a mockery of state regulators and the legal system," Blumenthal said. "This step stops the companies from cravenly and cavalierly firing more than 70 workers essential to protecting public safety and service reliability."

Blumenthal applauded the decision by the DPUC to block the layoffs, citing that the ramifications of the decision protects not just the workers but also the public.

"This case is about more than the workers who will suffer job loss and hardships headed into the holiday season," Blumenthal said. "Public safety and service reliability are paramount in preserving these jobs."

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