January 22, 2010

Gillibrand Makes Personal Call To National Grid: Keep Jobs In New York

Company Considers Subcontracting 1,200 Northeast Jobs

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made a personal phone call last night to the President of National Grid urging him to not outsource New York jobs as they proceed through their organizational review. Following news reports that National Grid was considering outsourcing much of its information services work, including software programming, computer networking and other functions, outsourcing as many as 1,200 jobs in the Northeast, Senator Gillibrand sent a letter on January 4 to Tom King, President of National Grid U.S.A urging him to reconsider.

“I can not empha enough the importance of keeping these dedicated employees on the National Grid payroll. Even outsourcing locally to subcontractors that do not provide good benefits or a living wage would have negative effects on our local economy,” said Senator Gillibrand.   

According to news reports, National Grid is considering outsourcing much of its information services work, including software programming, computer networking and other functions.  According to the reports, one request for proposals (RFP) for outside vendors has already been issued, with possibly three more to come in the coming months. National Grid USA made nearly $1.5 billion in profits last year, due in large part to the quality in-house workforce it relies on.

During the phone call last night, Senator Gillibrand expressed her disappointment with a company that made almost $1.5 billion in profits last year would look for ways to increase profits at the expense of its current competent and capable employees, especially during this economic time.

Senator Gillibrand has significant concerns with subcontracting any utility’s work to other companies because Northeastern customers would not want to see their neighbors lose their jobs, and their service suffer, just so that a large company can improve their bottom line. Senator Gillibrand is concerned that subcontracting leaves too much to chance. Subcontractors could be based anywhere and have employees anywhere and it is not fair to leave National Grid customers uncertain as to which company will handle their service, repair work, and online operations.

In addition, Senator Gillibrand offered to work with National Grid as they evaluate all aspects of their operation as she is working on a number of proposals to help New York companies sustain their workforces and create new jobs, and is working on new legislation that would cut taxes for businesses so they start hiring again and put New Yorkers back to work now.

Last fall, Senator Gillibrand launched her Innovation Agenda to increase America’s competitiveness in the global economy, keep and attract more high-tech businesses to New York, and create more high-tech jobs in New York.