City Councilmembers Melissa Mark-Viverito and Letitia James deplore the extreme and irresponsible action taken by the Con Edison utility company when it locked out 8,500 workers in the early morning hours of July 1st, without a moment’s notice, in the midst of contract negotiations. Con Ed has blamed the union for the situation, when in fact the Utility Workers of America Local 1-2 did everything it could to avert this lockout, including offering to work without a contract to ensure that New Yorkers’ safety was not compromised. This dangerous action will increase the likelihood of brown-outs and blackouts for New Yorkers during this heat wave! Kevin Burke, CEO of Con Edison who has an $11 million salary, has cut off the healthcare benefits for all 8,500 workers and their families.
This is a company that recently upped its rates by 10% (among the highest in the country) and made $5 billion in profits last year, gave its CEO a $25 million compensation package and an $18 million pension, and has over 40 senior staff making at least $300,000. Yet Con Ed wants to take away the pensions for its hardworking men and women and replace them with less-dependable 401k-style plans, as well as force workers to pay a 100% increase in health care contributions.
The company has made it clear that it’s willing to lock out its workers and jeopardize its customers rather than engage in fair and honest negotiations around pensions and healthcare plans. All 8,500 utility workers are ready to reach a deal and get a fair contract so they can go back to work but Con-Ed is disregarding everything but its own greed.
Councilmember James and Councilmember Mark-Viverito stand in solidarity with the Local 1-2 utility workers and their families and urge their colleagues and all New Yorkers who believe in justice and equality to do the same.