Con Edison, Union Leaders Negotiate Past Midnight Strike Deadline
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Con Edison of New York and union leaders are negotiating at the Hilton Rye Town in Westchester County past a midnight deadline.
Union spokesman John Melia says negotiations between the power company and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America have been ongoing for 10 days.
The old contract expired at midnight and workers had threatened to strike, but talks continued early Sunday.
Con Ed spokesman Bob McGee says there are a wide range of issues being discussed from pensions to wages and health care. He says the company plans to call in managers to run the utility if there is a work stoppage as a midnight-strike deadline looms.
8,500 Utility Workers of America Local 1-2 members could walk off the job on Saturday night if the two sides can’t reach a deal. And with this second heat wave in full swing, Con Ed is calling the threat a dangerous game while union members continue to work outdoors to keep the power on.
The union membership had authorized its leaders to call a strike at midnight Saturday, when the collective bargaining agreement expired.
If the 8,500 Con Edison workers do walk off, that would leave managers and any crews the company can hire to fix whatever problems arise as 8.2 million New Yorkers crank up their air conditioners to beat the heat.
Still, with the possible strike coming on a weekend, when many businesses are typically closed, demand for power will be lower than a weekday.
WCBS 880 Reporter Alex Silverman spoke with union representatives about the possibility of a strike…
Despite a potential strike on the horizon, Con Ed worker John Buygon assured CBS 2 that he and his co-workers are still working as hard as ever on Saturday.
In a statement, Con Ed said, “We look forward to productive discussions with the union leadership on a new contract that is fair and equitable for our employees and customers.”
The last time the union went on strike, in 1983, it lasted nine weeks. In 2008, then Gov. David Paterson managed to broker a deal between union and management to avoid a strike.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens if the two sides don’t reach an agreement by the time the clock strikes 12. Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…