Con Edison Media Relations
July 1, 2012
Con Edison Working To Keep Power Flowing As Union Leaders Refuse to Extend Contract Past Midnight Deadline
NEW YORK – Con Edison said today that 5,000 management personnel are now working to maintain electric, gas and steam service to the company's 3.2 million customers. Trained and experienced management personnel are staffing essential operations, following the refusal by leaders of the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 1-2 to accept the company's offer to extend their members' contract for two weeks while talks could continue.
The union represents about 8,000 Con Edison employees. The company's offer to extend the current contract remains on the table. Con Edison said if the union leadership agrees to extend the current contract, the company would welcome its employees back immediately.
Management also offered to continue negotiations if both sides agreed to give each other seven days advance notice of a strike or work stoppage. The union rejected the offer.
Con Edison said about 50 percent of the company management employees assigned to maintain essential service for field work have moved up through the union ranks, and all company personnel have been preparing for the possibility of a union work stoppage for months.
The company said negotiators had been hoping to reach agreement with union leaders on a new contract by the June 30th deadline. The company dispatched management employees to report to their field assignments this morning at 1 a.m. after the union leadership rejected the company's latest offer by the midnight contract deadline.
The company offered to extend the current contract until July 14 in an attempt to resolve outstanding issues, but the union leadership refused to agree to this extension while talks continued. Without a contract and the assurance that the union leadership would not call a strike without notice, Con Edison said the company would not have been able to assure customers of reliable service, a responsibility which it takes seriously.
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.
While the dispute continues, Con Edison said the company would continue to respond to any emergencies that arise, but that company work on non-emergency major construction projects would have to be limited. The company said customers, except those living in Staten Island, should be aware of the following changes:
- Customers should know that they can continue to call 1-800-75CONED for service problems at any time. If you smell gas, call us immediately. For questions about bills, please call between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Company walk-in centers will be closed; however payments will continue to be processed by mail, at authorized payment agents, by the Con Edison automated phone system (1-800-75-CONED), and on the Internet.
- Meter reading will be suspended for most customers. Where meter reading is suspended, estimates will be automatically prepared based on account records.