As Con Ed Talks Continue, City Officials Voice Concern

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Union workers at power company Con Edison picket outside company headquarters. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Consolidated Edison and the union representing about 8,500 of its workers said bargaining talks on a potential new contract would resume Thursday morning.

Federal mediators were on hand on Wednesday during the talks, which broke up around 9:30 p.m.

Con Ed has locked workers for almost two weeks.  That has some city officials worried about New Yorkers’ safety during one of the hottest months of the year.

“Con Edison’s decision to unilaterally impose a lockout during a heat wave, after 30 years of no job disruptions, was an escalation of management/labor tensions to an unprecedented degree, placing many New Yorker’s lives in danger,” said city Council Speaker Christine Quinn.

A sweltering heat wave was underway when the lockout first began on July 1. Quinn wrote a letter Wednesday to Con Ed CEO Kevin Burke, asking him to continue negotiations without locking workers out.

Con Ed blamed the situation on the Utility Workers of America union Local 1-2. The company said union leadership had refused to agree to give Con Ed adequate notice if the union decided to strike. “Everybody wants the employees back at work and so do we,” said Con Ed spokesman Mike Clendenin.

But the union said giving the company a week’s notice of an intent to strike would give the utility company too much leverage.

“That’s our only bargaining chip,” said Local 1-2 spokesman John Melia.

Con Edison has more than 3 million customers and has been using managers in the field.


More in:

Comments [12] from Manhattan

As a senior citizen who has lived thru several blackouts, I am stunned that this dangerous situation has NOT been resolved!! This heat is a killer! Lives are at risk. Con ED is totally at fault!

Jul. 17 2012 12:57 PM
Hector Ramos from Bronx, NY

Jessica, have you ever had a gun pulled on you while you work, have you had to try to get by drug dealers in order to do your job, probably not. Con Ed workers encounter many dangerous situations daily just so we can read your meters and provide you with electric and gas service daily. Some of our women workers have been blocked by customers(men) from leaving their properties after reading their meters. We encounter rat infested, roach infested, unkempt homes and businesses daily. I'd like to see if you would be able to put up with that.

Jul. 13 2012 06:26 AM
Dee from Brooklyn

Please correct the Blackout occurred in 1977 that's 35 years not 25. Boy how time flies.................

Jul. 13 2012 12:22 AM
Dee from Life

Jessica, I don't think you know squat about what a ConEd union workers functions are. Have you ever enter a confined space (manhole or trench)
they are required to wear protective equipment respirators, goggles, ear protection heavy protective clothing,etc. The environment is also very dangerous, possible no oxygen, methane gases, rodent infestation, extreme temperatures. The list goes on and on. A meter reader has to face similar
conditions in dungeon like basements with irritate animals, so on and so on.Maybe you should open up your eyes and see what really is out there. These people know what life is about. Maybe you should step into their shoes before you make some dumb remarks.

Jul. 12 2012 11:54 PM
Dee from Brooklyn

Does anybody know what happened 25 years ago tomorrow July 13,1977. NYC had a major BLACKOUT. How fitting tomorrow is also Friday the 13th, and the good Utility Workers Union of America is Lockout of work.....
Seems the Corporate big wigs of Con Ed is holding its system by a tread. Hoping to maintained the power system with unskilled management people and scabs. Let's see how much luck they have. Sooner or later
their luck may run out. Shame on you ConnEd holding this great city in check.

Jul. 12 2012 11:35 PM
Jessica McFadden

If you think you're worth more money than they are offering, go out and find out! If no other company will pay you what you want, then you need to reconsider what your labor is really worth. Nobody owes you a job. Stand on your own two feet like a man.

Jul. 12 2012 10:13 PM
Hector Ramos, A Con ED Worker from Bronx, NY

What Con ED puts out to the media and the public are half truths. There are hidden stipulations and changes behind their offer which the public is not aware of. How about the burden placed on the public. The public is now paying for our health care when we apply for Medicaid. The public is now paying to feed our families when we apply for Food Stamps. The economy is further stalled with lost tax revenue from our taxable income, merchants we supported are making less taxable revenue, and we are not out there spending our hard working wages to boost the economy. This lockout affects all of us in one way or another.

Jul. 12 2012 03:28 PM
A Con Ed Wife from NY

Dear Hard Worker, Really?? Ungrateful?? I truly hope you are NOT serious. You are blaming the 8500 workers for ConEd locking them out. These men/women were ready to work without a contract because of love of their jobs. They want nothing MORE than what they already have. Why should anyone have to give up their future for a company that makes BILLIONS of dollars every year. How dare you even try to say that leaving 8500 families with NO medical is OK. Let me ask you, if your job turned around and told you that you no longer would have benefits when you retire, but heres some cash to help you...a FRACTION of what you were already vested in. Would you just say OK and walk Away. I truly hope not but if so where is your untegrity? Where is your pride? I find your statements ridiculously misinformed.

These men and women are very happy to have their jobs. The pride they haven their work shows everyday when you can turn your lights on, when gas heats your home. Before you blindly judge learn more about what is actually happening.

Maybe you will feel bad when someone loses their house because if this, or someone dies because they can't afford medical coverage or medication.

To those who support the fight, thank you for understanding this ISN'T about wanting more but about wanting to keep what was already promised. Whether in for 1yr or 30, no one should have to compromise.

Jul. 12 2012 02:03 PM
hard worker from NY

n this economy when people are asked to sacrifice, take pay cuts, pay higher medical premiums, or have even been laid off, they have some nerve asking for more. We are all in the same boat, but deal with it without whining and just grateful everyday to have a job. There are plenty of people out there that would love this job and wouldn't cry like babies. Think about the families that have lost there homes due to the economic situation. They are just a bunch of ungrateful workers that are completely out of touch with reality.

Jul. 12 2012 10:19 AM
engine421 from van nest

All the workers want is a fair contract these guys deserve doing the work they do
its union busting pure and simple
all the best stay strong

notice you have not heard from burke or bloomberg since the lock out began
shame on coned from locking there workers out and endangering the lives of their managers and the public

Jul. 12 2012 06:31 AM
deeman from USA

Talk is cheap. What we want is what we have earned in the past. No give backs. Con Ed's intention is to break this union. This was all planned. Don't blame the union. Corporate Greed is showing it's ugly face. Trying to
take away all that we have tolled for. Solidarity my Union Brothers & Sisters; We must stand together to conquer this Monster.

Jul. 12 2012 12:05 AM
Concerned NYer from NYC

Corporate greed at its best. This is the new America. We all must stop corporate greed from destroying this country of ours. Greedy corporations have been destroying the middle every year. If we do not stop it soon there will be no middle class. I support the union workers of Local 1-2 and so should you. Know who your real enemy is.

Jul. 11 2012 10:35 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.


Latest Newscast




WNYC is supported by the Charles H. Revson Foundation: Because a great city needs an informed and engaged public


Supported by