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Con Ed Defends Tactics to State As Locked Out Workers Rally

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Con-Ed and other union workers rally during the heat wave. (Kathleen Horan/WNYC)

Consolidated Edison is defending the way it has handled the lock of out more than 8,000 workers to a state regulator.

In a filing to the state Public Service Commission, the utility said it had no choice but to lock out the workers after the union said it would not give 72-hours notice before striking so the utility could provide its customers uninterrupted service as contract talks expired.

“If the union leadership directed our union employees to leave their jobs without warning, we would have understaffed energy control centers and substations,” Con Ed stated in the filing. “Our ability to respond to and fix gas leaks, power outages, or downed lines would be severely compromised.”

The filing is in response to a request by Local 1-2, the Utility Workers of America, that the PSC force the utility to end the lock out. The utility has about 5,000 managers handling service maintenance and emergencies operations usually handled by members of Local 1 -2.

Union spokesman John Melia didn’t take much stock in Con Ed’s argument to the PSC. “We’ll see what the Public Service Commission makes of what Con Ed replied, but I can say on the face of it that Con Ed, once again, states half truths.”

Meanwhile, union workers from across the city rallied outside Con Ed’s headquarters at Irving Place in support of the locked out workers and then marched to Union Square in the midst another heat wave blanketing the city. Transit employees, teachers, and steamfitters chanted “we are one” and vowed to support the workers until they received a fair contract.

Salvatore Guerico has been working for Con Ed for the last 44 years. He believes the large turnout would send a strong message.

“This is to show New York and Con Edison that we are united. I think everyone is looking to stand up in New York because everyone has had enough of corporate greed,” Guerico said.

Members of the City Council, State Assembly and the State Senate also showed up to the rally, as did mayoral hopefuls Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer and Comptroller John Liu.

Neither Con Ed nor the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 has indicated any real progress. They didn’t meet on Tuesday. Negotiations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

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Comments [12]

lee from NY

you should all print these comments out and distribute them to the people you run into everyday. this is great stuff which believe me Joe Public doesn't know. I heard that CE is lowing the voltage so that brown outs won't occur, I also heard that it makes the meters spin out of control and the electric bill will be extremely high for all the customers. Is that legal?

Jul. 25 2012 12:23 AM
Dennis from UWUA local 1-2

I thank you WNYC for you media coverage of this devastating event in the lives of my lockout union family. You have stood up and allowed us to be heard. The other station's must have been paid off by the corporate gangsters of Con Edison's Executive Board members, to keep the coverage to a minimum. This is a 21st century class action against all unions by the 1%.
At this rally we were team up with many other union brothers and politicians that supported us in our fight; they will not be forgotten. We will also remember the lack of support of Governor Andrew Cuomo & Mayor Micheal Bloomberg, for election time is right around the corner.

Jul. 19 2012 10:50 PM
J from White Plains, NY

**Both sides need to come together and get this Contract settle ASAP! Supposely, Con Edison states they had no choice but to "lock Union Workers out, otherwise they would not be prepared if we striked without notice. But how nice to Lock us out without notice and no paycheck! Left all of us to figure out how we would pay our bills and feed our families and the kicker of them all to take our benefits. We just want a fair Contract and to get back to the jobs that we have been trained to do and prevent anyone from getting hurt out there...Lets get this done already, and cut the Bull!

Jul. 19 2012 08:54 AM

I hope this is the last straw. Not just Con Ed, but Government. It is time to make all elected officials know they work for us - Not big business. Register to vote. Vote against anyone who is not supporting unions and the American work force. Time to take back America. Get rid of the apathy that we are killing ourselves with. As far as I'm concerned, the Mayor and Governor of NY are S C A B S. CUOMO you are on notice - don't plan on being RE-ELECTED. Spread the word, Take back NY and America

Jul. 18 2012 11:22 AM
suzinne from bronx

Just another corporation playing hardball with unions. And yeah, it's disgusting.

Jul. 18 2012 09:55 AM
Kevin from NY

Ok..lets say they end the "Lockout" . Then what ? Employees go back to work without a contract with there heads low and full of shame.... Do they Strike ? I dont understand the purpose of ending the lockout !

Jul. 18 2012 09:51 AM
ChunxGrrl from NYC

For those who care to learn- this is all checkable public information;
* - There's a news blackout on Con Edison's difficulties in this, their lockout of choice - contrary to what they promised to the PSC after the 2006 Long Island City 9-day fiasco, they have disabled their online outage map - there have been substantial unreported outages in Brooklyn. The July 7th Lexington & 56th Street explosion and fire story could not be hidden - but came and went in a blink - thank goodness no injuries reported so far.

*- Maintenance is not being performed - including crucial stray voltage surveys. Uncorrected stray voltage is deadly and has killed passerby in the past.

*- Every year, shareholder activist motions for Con Ed to report more completely on executive compensation are resisted - in the aggregate they are unfunded liabilities, ultimately paid by the ratepayers - as opposed to union members pensions which ARE funded and counted as an an asset.

*- the ratepayers have shelled out over $70 million in a no-bid advertising contract, which has been described by the PSC as a transparent strategy for Con Edison to simply buy the "endearment" of the public.

*- For those millions of New Yorkers who use public transportation: a Con Edison executive sitting on the MTA board will be voting for your next fare increase - it's all one big happy family with a long history of interlocking interests.

On and on it goes- 3 kickback/corruption scandals in the past 4 years; a criminal history of lying to the public after the Gramercy Park fatalities, requiring a court-appointed monitor - can anyone trust these monopolists to come clean?

We're just the ones you see in the streets, in all weather, keeping your communities lit and safe - and all we want is a fair contract and get back to the jobs we do better -by ANY measure - than anyone else - either managers or scabs. Call or write your state legislators to dope slap Con Ed on their daydream of busting the public's best source of unintimidated inside information on what's really going on behind the monopoly flacks' drivel.

Jul. 18 2012 08:54 AM
Mike from Queens

I live in ozone park queens I checked voltage on the panel in my house last night around 10pm cause I noticed everything was running "weak" when i checked it was 102 volts at 102 volts personal items can start to burn out this is alittle more then 5 percent actually con Edison never mention any voltage drops in ozone park, this morning I checked again it was 115 which is about 5 percent seems like there not reporting there problems thinking people wouldn't notice..

Jul. 18 2012 08:33 AM
Dee from lockout

Mayor Bloomburg, Governor Cuomo are on the side of Upper Management of Con
Ed. They have not said a word about what is going on. Shouldn't the Mayor of NYC intervene with a company that supplies power to 8 million people. There is alot of crocked politics going on here. Not one word from the Great Mike Bloomberg. The people of NYC are aware of your total disregard for their wellfare. You stole a third term in office. What more harm can you do to good citizens of New York?
As for the Public Service Commission they should be investigated too. Ever time Con Ed asked for a rate increase they get it.

Jul. 18 2012 02:06 AM
CEE CEE from NY, NY

We gathered by the thousands today, in support of not just Organized Labor, but YOU the Public. What justifies a CED making 11 million a year, while you pay one of the highest Electric bills in the Country? What justifies YOU, the Public being subjected to a possible blackout while the CEO gets in his private plane and waves goodbye, as he enjoys his mansion in the Hamptons. What justifies a Governor who accepts a 250,000 "gift" from CE for a Pet Project, his best friend and advisor sitting on the Board of CE Trustees, while YOU the Public support the LOCKED OUT Utilitiy workers at a cost of 3.2 million a week? What justifies Untrained,Unconcerned out of state Contractors coming into your home,attempting to service an area when they cannot maintain their own states system? ... Does any of this concern You the Public?..Email the PSC,Email the Governor... read the facts in the papers...and concern yourself with the welfare of your Families, neighbors and friends.......A Locked OUt Utility Worker..

Jul. 18 2012 12:03 AM
BUTCH

CON ED SENIOR MANAGEMENT STARTED PREPARING FOR THIS LOCKOUT A YEAR AGO. BACK IN FEBRUARY LOWER LEVEL MANAGERS AND FRONT LINE SUPERVISORS WERE TOLD THEY WERE HAVING DRASTIC CHANGES IN THEIR PENSION STRUCTURE. IN MARCH THEY WERE BEING TRAINED ON HOW TO DO UNION JOBS, A LOT OF UNION EMPLOYEE'S WERE PROMOTED TO MANAGEMENT. SUPERVISORS WERE ASKING UNION MEMBERS HOW TO DO ROUTINE DETAILS OF OUR JOBS. WE HAD MANAGEMENT/EMPLOYEE COMMITTEES, AND EMPOLYEE SURVEYS. ALL OF WHICH ARE BASIC UNIONBUSTING TACTICS. WHATEVER CON ED WANTS THE PSC GIVES IT TO THEM SO THE COMPLAINT FILED BY THE UNION WAS AN EXECISE IN FUTILITY. SENIOR MANAGEMENT WANTED TO FORCE A STRIKE 4 YEARS AGO FOR THE SAME THINGS THEY LOCKED US OUT FOR THIS TIME BUT THE UNION SAW THRU IT. LAST TIME IT WAS POLITICAL THE POLITIANS WERE BEHIND US. WHERE ARE THEY NOW

Jul. 17 2012 10:33 PM
CRAE from 4 IRIVING PLACE

Con Ed locked out 8,500 Local 1-2 members without warning when our Union wanted to continue working and continue bargaining.

Local 1-2 members never threatened to strike or walk out.

Local 1-2 members are committed to providing our customers and our community with safe and reliable electricity, gas and steam at a reasonable cost.

Con Ed is demanding radical cuts in our pension and health care.

Con Ed would not make any wage proposal until just before it
locked us out.

And Con Ed’s last minute wage proposal is way less than the cuts Con Ed
is demanding in health care and pension.

Con Ed’s CEO Kevin Burke is living high on the hog while 8,500 employees are locked out from their jobs. Last year Mr. Burke’s compensation was almost $11 million. His pension is worth about $18 million. Also, his golden parachute is worth about $30 million!

DO tell the public that in 2011 Con Ed recorded revenues of over $13 billion and record profits of over $1 billion!

Jul. 17 2012 09:43 PM

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