Main | Saturday, June 30, 2012

NYC's Con Ed Union Threatens Strike

As the temperature in New York City again teases the triple-digit mark, the local Con Ed union says it may go on strike at midnight tonight.
Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America vows to strike if it can’t reach a deal by midnight, when its current four-year contract expires. Both sides were far apart yesterday on pay, pension and health-insurance issues, said union spokesman John Melia. Con Ed said in a statement that it was confident it could reach a deal “that is fair and equitable for our employees and customers." Yesterday, the mercury hit 97 degrees at La Guardia Airport at 4 p.m. — but with the humidity’s punch, it felt like 103, said meteorologist John Dlugoenski.
The NYFD has warned residents against opening fire hydrants and is offering hydrant spray-caps at the city's fire stations. Con Ed union officials warn that a strike may result in power outages.
"If [Chief Executive] Kevin Burke persists in failing to engage in meaningful discussions and forces a work disruption, the system shows every indication that it will not be able to hold up in another heat wave," said Harry Farrell, president of Local 1-2. "There will be outages, and Con Ed will not be able repair the damage." But the company has about 5,000 managers who could step in to keep power on in the event of a labor stoppage. To prepare for a strike, Con Ed has put contingency plans in place and has retrained its managerial force. It has also increasingly relied on outside contractors and can depend on some of them to step in. Work on major construction projects could be limited if a strike occurs.

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