Con Ed workers and the managers who had been asked to step in for some of the 8,000 employees locked out since July 1 said on Thursday that they were relieved to return to their normal day jobs after the union and the utility ended the labor conflict.
Manager Jayme Mallay returned to the East River Generation Station in Manhattan after a 12-hour shift on Thursday and said working in the field gave him a new respect for rank-and-file employees.
Still, he said he planned to toss the blister-inducing work boots he’d been wearing during the lockout.
“I worked in the gas department so you know, that was a real experience because normally I'm an IT person," Mallay said, "So you know, it was like day and night. You see the hard work that our co-workers go though."
Water treatment plant operator Terrance Marcano reported back to work Thursday evening, and said he was happy to be sporting the Con Ed uniform again, even if he doesn't yet know the details of his contract. Throughout July, Marcano had been manning picket lines, attending protests, and trying to support himself on unemployment.
“They say it's like a temporary agreement--that's all we know, but I'm just glad to be back at work," he said
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the deal Thursday afternoon, hours after crews began returning to work in advance of potentially severe storms racing to New York that threatened power outages.
Since the lockout Con Ed said 12 workers have been injured, including one worker who suffered second degree burns to the face while working in a manhole.
The Con Ed workers were locked out after their contract expired and negotiations over a new one failed.