by Mark Curtis, ABC6 Chief Political Reporter
Crews from National Grid worked around the clock, restoring power after Hurricane Sandy. But weeks later their union complained when some workers were not paid for overtime and other received no paychecks at all. Customers and state officials say that's wrong.
Norma Harris, a National Grid customer said, "I wouldn't want to be out there. I work inside everyday and I give them a whole lot of credit."
State Sen. Dawson Hodgson (R-RI) said, "I would expect that a corporate citizen like National Grid is going to make good, and quickly, and hopefully this will all be a moot point before long."
National Grid spokesman David Graves told ABC6 that there were problems with a new computerized payroll system, but that all employees will get all their money. Still, the electrical workers union was not satisfied.
ABC6 Reporter Mark Curtis said, "The National Grid pay dispute has been brought to the attention of the Rhode Island Attorney General's office. And a spokeswoman there says the issue is troublesome and serious and will be looked into."
National Grid says only electrical workers were affected and not natural gas workers like those working in North Kingstown today.
Meanwhile one state lawmaker is puzzled as to why the Attorney General's office is investigating first.
"The evolution of this dispute seems a bit strange to me. I would have expected that it would have been first referred to the Department of Labor and Training," said State Sen. Dawson Hodgson, a member of the Senate Labor Committee.
National Grid says fixing its automated payroll system, is now a top priority. Late Wednesday National Grid spokesman David Graves told ABC6 News that officials with National Grid met with the labor unions involved and they agreed to fix this matter internally. They believe they can get everybody paid, without the Attorney General getting involved.