Written by: Ernie Garcia
Labor contract talks between Con Edison and its union continued Wednesday as state Sen. Greg Ball accused the utility of bargaining in bad faith.
Ball, R-Patterson, visited Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 members who were protesting their July 1 lockout in Valhalla at Con Edison’s Eastview Service Center.
“There’s a lack of leadership in management that would allow this situation to continue to get worse. I’m also incensed at the fact that health benefits were cut off on July 1 and these union members weren’t informed until July 3,” Ball said after his visit.
Con Edison disputed Ball’s assertions.
“We are bargaining in good faith and are determined to reach an agreement that is fair to our employees and customers. The work stoppage is due to the union leadership’s refusal to continue working under the old contract or agree to provide us with adequate notice of a strike,” Con Edison Allan Drury wrote in an email. “We have presented the union with a very fair and reasonable offer that would get the employees back to work.”
Ball is not the only elected official who called for an end to the lockout. On Wednesday, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn asked the utility to end the lockout.
Last week, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman asked state regulators to scrutinize Con Edison to ensure the utility can respond to a heat or weather emergency with 8,500 of its union staff sidelined.
Con Edison replaced union workers with about 5,000 managers, former employees and contractors after the union’s four-year contract expired on June 30.
UWUA Local 1-2 spokesman John Melia said Wednesday’s contract talks rehashed old positions.
On Tuesday, Con Edison offered its union more than 10 percent in raises over a four-year period to end a lockout, among other elements. (ARTICLE)