Con Ed Lockout

Monday, July 02, 2012

Con Ed working in Astoria, Queens on Steinway Street after the blackout of summer 2006. (28Dreams/flickr)

New York Daily News reporter Erin Durkin discusses the breakdown in negotiations that occurred between Con Ed and its union members, causing a lockout of 8,000 employees.


Erin Durkin

Comments [22]

99 %er

Mike Dee is a spineless scab. This guy has never known what it's like to stand together, because he's on his own little island.

The Rat is watching you, Mike.

Jul. 05 2012 05:47 AM
Mike Dee

Management can handle the situation fine. Most of them came up through the ranks and have done the job before and quite frankly can do the job again and more efficiently. The worker that got hurt in Brooklyn was very experianced and got hurt though not fault of his own. It would have happened to a union worker in the same situation.

Jul. 04 2012 11:26 AM
joey walnuts from COMMACK

8500 people locked out...3 watching for every one that only missing about 2125 actual workers

Jul. 03 2012 06:40 PM
John From Upstate

Dont let Con Ed force a cash balance pension plan to replace the traditional one!! National Grid has done that and it is devastating! It will force the employees to work longer just to get a benefit that is close to a defined benefit plan!! Don't back down!

Jul. 02 2012 04:43 PM
joe mc from NY, NY

Much of con ed's management specialists are associate engineers that fill supervisor positions through what they call "the good program" and in many instances less productive union personnel are promoted to managerial positions because they can at least serve as mouth pieces and act as the fall guy for middle management's misdealings and errors. What this all comes down to is con ed wanting to get their hands on an enormous pension fund and boost their stock value while essentially telling us that the system reliability that they so proudly waves in your save when it is time to ask for a rate increase, means nothing. Your tax money will pay these workers $3.5 a week in unemployment to the union workers. When it is time for the company to pay it back, they will figure out a way to work it into the rate through their world famous "creative accounting". (Ask a c.e. union worker about it. Right now, I'm sure they are more than happy to spill the beans.)

Jul. 02 2012 11:50 AM
Susan from Brooklyn, NY

Does anyone else have a problem with the fact that 401K's, the increasingly preferred method of saving for retirement in this country, is a trap whereby we are forced to participate in the stock market whether we like or not? This is another hidden aspect of the way the financial system monopolizes power in our society. As an employee with a 401K, I feel fortunate to be able to save and enjoy the tax benefits thereof, but as a citizen and an activist, I would like to have more choices about where to put my money, to invest in local community needs, etc. Why is this never discussed?


Jul. 02 2012 11:48 AM
LL from UWS

I am shocked to hear that Con Ed union workers are being asked to give up so much.

Their work is so valuable to all of us...compared to, say, a lot of the "1%" and bankers........who aren't being asked to give up anything much.

Jul. 02 2012 11:21 AM
Amy from Manhattan

How likely is a flaming manhole or pole-top transformer fire anyway? Is it any more likely in hot weather? And I doubt Con Ed would send a 70-year-old to either of those. Don't get me wrong, I'm pro-union, but the statement that was quoted was kinda overwrought. I don't like that on either side.

Jul. 02 2012 11:21 AM
Motives from LIPA land

Con Ed tries to get all major projects finished by heat wave season.
With those projects done, Con Ed doesn't need as many people unless there is an emergency. Management usually has the best craftsmen, who are more efficient than the average workers.
So Con Ed cuts costs by locking out.

Jul. 02 2012 11:21 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

amq from Brooklyn, I wondered the exact same thing this morning when I heard about the lockout/strike.

Jul. 02 2012 11:21 AM
PJ from NJ from Hoboken

Without taking sides, management (and sometimes unions) uses situations to make their bargaining position stronger. Management is hoping that, if power is lost and there are no union workers to fix it, people will blame the union workers and ignore the fact that management locked them out. Since union workers are viewed as spoiled and lazy and getting more than non-union workers, Con Ed’s management hopes that people’s resentment towards union workers will lead them to blame the union.

Jul. 02 2012 11:20 AM
abe from nyc

What happens to alreadyy retired employees?
If someone is already retired w a pension in any union oriented job (con-ed, verizon, etc.). Can they be touched?
Are already retired workers safe?

Jul. 02 2012 11:20 AM
RJ from prospect hts.

Re: last caller:
the problem is not with people who are defending their right to better benefits; the problem is that *not enough people are organized* to have the strength to obtain and defend these benefits. That's the whole point. People who have difficulties in the event of a strike should ****organize****.

Jul. 02 2012 11:19 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

LL from UWS... I'm sorry, but what on Earth are you talking about? Hiring the workers privately??

To do what? Do you own a cherry picker truck? Or have the other necessary equipment to go down into a manhole and work on below-ground power lines? You wouldn't get access to the lines anyway.

What fantasy world do you live in? Sorry, but....

Jul. 02 2012 11:18 AM
Sophie from Poughkeepsie, NY

The fines are so low for those businesses keeping doors open and blasting the A/C, a $200 fine is simply a 'cost of doing business'. Maybe a higher fine like a couple of grand for each violation may discourage this practice.

Jul. 02 2012 11:17 AM
pliny from soho

What do they want?

Jul. 02 2012 11:15 AM
LL from UWS

Can we hire Con Ed Union Workers PRIVATELY if we need them?

I can imagine everyone on my block chipping in to pay workers directly in an emergency.

Jul. 02 2012 11:15 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The "appropriate training"??? The caller means for us to accept that managers can train up in -- what? -- one or two days?? Give me a break! It takes weeks, or months just to get to level 1, years to become truly experienced.

Not to mention, the numbers are way out of line. There HAS to be far less managers than workers (else we know the organization of Con Ed is way out of whack!)

What am I missing here??

Jul. 02 2012 11:14 AM
RJ from prospect hts.

I worked with the Con Ed workers in the past, and the rule of thumb is that it takes 5 years to get up to speed on field work jobs. Perhaps that's a a bit less for people who have been promoted or retired, but given the extraordinary rate of technological change in *all* industries (that are often eliminating old-style jobs), it would seem unlikely that they could pop in with a few hours training.

Jul. 02 2012 11:14 AM
amq from Brooklyn

Is it just me or does it seem crazy that the Con-Ed contract ends in late June--when it's going to be hot ans stormy?. Isn't that just asking for trouble?

Jul. 02 2012 11:13 AM
Nick from UWS

Gee Brian, due to your somewhat dismissive and humoring attitude towards Dr Casti in your previous segment, you seem unable to relate this Con Ed situation with his concept of X events.

Jul. 02 2012 11:13 AM
Jack from NYC

Let's be clear - this is blatant union busting - and, for a regulated monopoly with record high share prices that brags about its unbroken record of dividend increases - unnecessary-. Con Edison is gambling with public safety and is doing it on the taxpayer/ratepayers' dime - 8500 of us are this morning filing our NY State Unemployment Insurance benefits forms.

Despite their press releases, Con Edison is NOT prepared to run the system with the trained experts locked out. Unqualified personnel are in the streets and stations. Long-established internal safety rules are being cast aside.

We have heard reports just this morning of a blown breaker event in Bensonhurst resulting in injury to substitute workers. Networks in Bensonhust, Williamsburg, Boro Park to name a few, are in tenuous condition and at risk of turning into another Long Island City-like extended widespread outage.

Sorry for the lengthy post - concerned fellow New Yorkers can get the alternative stories, other than Con Ed's corporate press feeds at: the Facebook page for UWUA local 1-2, The local's homepage at, and the dedicated lockout page at

Thank you

Jul. 02 2012 10:58 AM

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