As Con Ed Talks Continue, City Officials Voice Concern

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.