image description
Members of Local Local 12325 are picketing outside Berkshire Gas over contract talks; their contract expires on Sunday.

Berkshire Gas Workers Picket to Over Contract Talks

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff
Print Story | Email Story

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Unionized Berkshire Gas employees picketed outside of the facility on Thursday, saying they are asking for favorable work conditions, wages, and benefits.

"We are currently involved in contract negotiations with our union members and we are hopeful that an agreement beneficial to all parties will be reached soon," said Sarah Wall Fliotsos, a Berkshire Gas spokesperson.

Michael Ferriter, a retiree of the gas company and 20-year president of United Steelworkers Local 12325, spoke on behalf of the workers. The contract expires on March 31 and the union would like to get a new agreement ratified in a timely manner.

"We're just trying to get the company to move along and realize that a work stoppage is the worst thing that could happen to Berkshire County," he said.

The details of the asks are not being released but Ferriter said it is important to ratify a contract to keep the public safe. As with any contract, benefits, wages, and work conditions are items of negotiation.

"I worry more about public safety right now because if these guys don't get a contract, there is literally no one that is qualified to do their work. We have to go through an extensive amount of programs through Massachusetts to make sure these people can be on the street doing their job every day plus the fact that they are first responders," he said.

"I did it for 35 years, I was the president of the union for 20 years. Any given day, they could be called to a gas leak and not come home. It's very important that you have the right people out there doing the job and making sure the public is safe."

About 20 people stood on Cheshire Road around 3 p.m. holding signs with phrases such as "Fair Contract Now," "Fair Contract, Safety, Benefits, Wages," and "Your union wants to hear from you."  Ferriter noted that this wasn't even half of the picketers as many had not gotten out of work yet.

"All departments are going to be out of your picketing today from customer service to the street department who deal with everything underground, the service department who deals with everything above ground," he said.

"It's pretty much the whole facility."

He said union contracts had always a battle during his time there and that "they locked us out for nine months 20 years ago, I was the president then and that's nothing they're going to see again."

The United Steelworkers is North America's largest industrial union, made up of 1.2 million members and retirees in the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. It represents workers in nearly every industry and has a presence in the United Kingdom, Ireland, England, Scotland, Mexico, and many other places around the world.

Tags: berkshire gas,   picketing,   union negotiations,   

If you would like to contribute information on this article, contact us at

Post 68 Juniors Split Double-Header on Road Sports
GREENFIELD, Mass. -- Jason Codey struck out 10 Tuesday to lead Pittsfield Post 68 Juniors to a 5-0 win in a double-header split against Greenfield Post 81 in American Legion Baseball action.
Codey scattered three hits and walked one in the complete-game, five-inning win.
Devin Reynolds and Gavin O'Donnell each doubled, and Simon Mele drove in a pair of runs in the win.
Post 81 came back to earn a 3-2 win in the nightcap.
Greenfield scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take a 3-0 lead.
In the fourth, Connor Devine and Jack Farkas each drove in a run.
But Greenfield's Conner Bergeron came on in relief and retired two hitters with runners at the corner to end the threat.
View Full Story

More Pittsfield Stories