Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) has reinstated health insurance for 8,500 utility workers and resumed negotiations with the union Monday.
The union workers’ contract expired June 30 and the workers were locked out when negotiations for the renewal contract fell through. The 8,500 workers are three weeks into negotiations and covered retroactively for health insurance through July.
John Melia of the Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2 had told The Associated Press (AP) Sunday that there had been no apparent progress in contract negotiations.
On July 10, Con Edison proposed a list of increases that Local 1-2 rejected and called “double talk.” The proposals included wage increases of 10 percent over four years and further increases for employees who have not reached maximum rate of pay, and the offer to maintain pension benefits and health care plans.
Local 1-2 said in a release that the wage improvements as proposed by Con Edison would be “wiped out” by health care payments, which would increase as well, or come at too slow of a rate to make a difference.
According to AP, about 5,000 managers, former employees, and contractors are filling spots left by the locked-out workers while a forecast of mid-90 degree weather is coming up in the following few days, including a heat advisory through Tuesday.Con Edison has been receiving public pressure to move ahead with negotiations, including from elected officials. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn wrote a letter to Con Edison CEO Kevin Burke last Wednesday calling on him to continue negotiations and expressing her disapproval over “Con Edison’s decision to unilaterally impose a lockout during a heat wave … placing many New Yorkers’ lives in danger.”
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