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Con Ed ends lockout with Local 1-2

STEPHON JOHNSON Amsterdam News Staff | 8/2/2012, 4:52 p.m.
Con Edison fight with local Utility Workers of America continues

It's finally over. Local 1-2 Utility Workers of America reached a new four-year deal with Con Edison in order to return to work last Friday...with a little nudging from New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

"After nearly a month of the largest lockout of workers in U.S. labor history by a private corporation, I would like to thank New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for his presence of mind and leadership in helping Con Edison find a way to deliver to my members a contract that is a fair, equitable and decent return on the fruits of our labor," said Local 1-2 President Harry Farrell. "Besides Governor Cuomo, I would also like to applaud the efforts of the many elected state and city officials who joined our cause."

On June 30, after their current contract expired, Con Edison locked its workers out rather than continue negotiations. Con Edison replaced workers by bringing up labor from places like Texas and Alabama. Although management did reinstate health coverage to its locked-out members, it was the potential danger of a severe thunderstorm and other inclement weather that forced Cuomo's hand. He persuaded them to get back to the table, and that's when a deal was reached.

"Due to the potential safety issues and emergency response needs that may result from the storm, earlier this morning I met with the leadership of Con Ed and Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America," said Cuomo in a statement. "At my request and in the interest of the safety of New Yorkers, Con Ed and Local 1-2 have agreed that the necessary personnel will immediately return to work to prepare for the possibility of an approaching storm and will remain on the job for the duration of any emergency and any following repairs.

"Con Ed and Local 1-2 will continue to work aggressively to reach a full contract agreement. I want to thank President Harry Farrell of Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers of America, President of the International Union of UAW Michael Langford and Con Edison President and CEO Kevin Burke for coming together and putting the interests of the people first," stated Cuomo.