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Update: To read more about the contract dispute , including the defined benefit pension plan and workers contributions to healthcare, click here for the July 15th NY Times article by Patrick McGeehan.
In our DFNYC email newsletter of Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012, we included the report below on ConEd's lock out of unionized employees. Talks are scheduled to resume on Tuesday, July 10th. For more, see this Reuters report.
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This past Sunday morning, July 1st, Consolidated Edison ("ConEd") locked out more than 8000 unionized workers, more than two-thirds of its 13,000 workforce. This was not a strike; it was a lockout by the company in the middle of labor negotiations with Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America.
While the union membership had authorized its leaders to call a strike at 12:01am on Sunday, union leadership continued to negotiate and says ConEd ended talks at about 1:30am. The company locked out the workers Sunday morning. ConEd claims that they are offering to extend the current contract for two weeks to continue negotiations, but a union official pointed out that this "offer" by ConEd includes an agreement not to strike, which would mean the union would have to give up the basic negotiating tool of organized labor.
Federal mediators are now involved and have arranged a meeting between union leadership and ConEd on Thursday. News reports indicate that the main issues are pensions, wages and health care, specifically a defined benefit pension plan.