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Con Edison Makes New Offer After Talks Resume; Union Decries Proposal As ‘Lies’

Union workers at power company Con Edison picket outside company headquarters on July 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Union workers at power company Con Edison picket outside company headquarters on July 2, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Con Edison and the union representing its employees resumed negotiations Tuesday afternoon after the two sides took a break over the weekend.

Negotiations between the power company and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America have been going on for weeks. The contract expired more than a week ago. Both sides said that there are still many sticking points, including changing pension terms.

On Tuesday afternoon, Con Edison said it had presented a new offer to Local 1-2.  That proposal included the following items:

  • Wage increases of more than 10 percent over four years.
  • Further wage increases will be available for employees who have not yet reached the maximum rate of pay in their job title.
  • Maintain current defined benefit pension formulas for all employees hired before July 1, 2012.
  • Apply cash balance-defined benefit pension formula for employees hired after July 1, 2012.
  • Increase the “Participating Contribution” (employee contributions that are matched by the company) to the Thrift Savings Plan, or 401(k), that may be elected by employees.
  • Four existing company holidays may be exchanged for a different day off.
  • Employee contributions to health care plans will remain at 17 percent for the first year of the contract, growing to 24 percent by the fourth year.

However, union spokesman John Melia fired back at the utility’s press release, saying it was a “cheap ploy that is perfectly in character with Con Edison.”

“One again, Con Edison has resorted to outrageous and underhanded behavior. What [do] I have to say about the press release? Con Ed lies to the public, Con Ed lies to the media and Con Ed lies to its employees,” Melia said.

The union represents about 8,500 workers. About 5,000 Con Ed managers have been out in the field responding to outages and other issues while negotiations continue.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)