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Con Ed Priorities Will Be Emergencies, Power Problems [POLL]

While the union dispute and worker lock-out continues, Con Ed gives customers tips on how it will affect them.

Emergencies and power problems will be the top priority for Con Edison while the utility company keeps its union workers locked out.

Con Ed has 348,000 customer accounts in Westchester, according to Con Ed spokesman Alan Drury. 

Negotiations between Con Ed and the union turned confrontational over the weekend. Talks broke down around midnight Saturday, as the contract expired. 

Reports say the union was willing to keep working without a contract but not willing to extend the contract for two weeks or to promise 7-day notice before a strike. At 1 a.m. Sunday the company instituted a lock-out of 8,500 union members and called in managers and management retirees. 

On its website, Con Ed offers a summary and a video about what customers need to know during the work stoppage. The priority: emergencies and power problems. Bills may reflect estimated use; pay online or by mail. Customer phone lines will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

According to an article this morning in The Gothamist:

 "...the union warns that if there's any serious problems, the managers won't be able to handle it.

"They have placed their customers and the public at great peril," union spokesman John Melia tells the Daily News. "These men and women don’t have the knowledge or the expertise or the capability to keep the system operating long term. These guys don’t know how to go down into flaming manholes." Not to be outdone, union president Harry Farrell told the Times"What they said last night to the people of New York was, ‘Drop dead.' They’re asking retired supervisors to climb poles and work in manholes and stuff — I just don’t see it happening." For now, Con Ed is suspending meter reading and shutting walk-in centers.

Con Ed workers haven't gone on strike since the summer of 1983; at that time there were 16,500 members working at the utility, and the Times reports that the strike lasted nine weeks, with one major incident affecting service. The two sides are currently at odds over pension benefits. Workers' current contract has expired, and while workers were willing to continue working without a contract during negotiations, Con Ed officials had demanded an agreement from the union not to strike without seven days' notice.

The union rejected that, and negotiations broke down around 1:30 a.m. Sunday. Throughout yesterday there were a number of small-scale power outages, but Con Ed's spokesman says there were below average for a typical day in July." 

 

According to the Con Ed website, the utility company had been preparing for a work stoppage for months.

"The company said it appreciated the hard work of its union employees, but that it must work to achieve a contract that is fair and equitable for both employees and customers. Con Edison said its negotiators have presented numerous proposals to the union leadership to address long-term wage and benefit issues, in an effort to meet the needs of employees while respecting the cost concerns of customers," the company press release stated.

Pensions appear to be at the forefront of the dispute.

With continuing hot weather, Con Ed asks customers to conserve energy and offers these tips.

NAO July 11, 2012 at 01:47 AM
I have a question does this mean that Con Ed planned the lock out a week in advance? If they did, there was really nothing that the union could have done to change their minds.
jeff meyer July 11, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Blue, the entire scenario that you present is a shell game. What if? What if? Then more what if's? If in fact you are aware of a person commiting the act you present then report them. Does your scenario have anything to do with 8,500 skilled and essential workers being locked out of their jobs? Jeff Meyer Tuckahoe, NY
Blue July 11, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Oh Jeff's back. I'm talking about the mindset of union workers vs managment. Once aa union worker becomes mangement ( or their own boss )the mindset changes. And if I'm the only person in this world who knows a current , ex union worker who retires ( at whatever point in their lives Lynn ) or gov. union employee that becomes their own boss and does not pay union wages ( which is different than prevailing wages ) or offer huge benefit packages to its employees than none of these comments are based on reality. I'm not judging but lets be honest.
S. Z. July 11, 2012 at 12:49 PM
That's not actually what the poll is about, though.. it's asking if the dispute will affect YOU, not what who you think is right or wrong in the situation.
Blue July 11, 2012 at 02:11 PM
Suzanne. " duh". Really ? Is that where we are now ? I like to debate but I try not make condescending comments or question other commenters intellect. But I do see your point on all boats rising with the tide and it can work in a strong economy but not at this point I don't believe. I think what happened is the non-union tide went into recession and union's kept level or rising during the recession so I have no problem if managment of any company looks at restructuring of future employee benefits as a way to ensure future profitability. Do you enjoy having your taxes pay for the pensions of postal workers as it loses billions per quarter instead of the law changed so the pension doesn't have to be fully funded at all times? I think sometimes things have to be changed. As for the CEO. I really think if the billion dollar company wasn't gov regulated and he were in the total private sector his base salary would be higher than 18 million nevermind total comp. package so I don't think its that crazy. BTW what "book" were you referring to that I should read.

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