A Great Big City

Supporters of UWUA Local 1-2 Rally in Union Square to Protest the Continued ConEd Lockout

Workers gathered in the north plaza of Union Square
Workers gathered in the north plaza of Union Square via New York State AFL-CIO on Facebook
Workers gathered in the north plaza of Union Square Overhead view of workers marching along Irving Place Members of CWA Local 1101, NYSUT, and American Federation of Teachers are seen at the rally One protester comes up with a ConEd acronym View of Union Square rally from above A modification on the ConEd logo The crowd of union supporters and the stage in Union Square
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After 17 days of being locked out of their jobs, ConEd workers rally in Union Square to demand a fair contract.

Learn more about today’s rally on the NY State AFL-CIO’s Facebook page.

ConEd has released a statement today as part of a NY State Public Service Commission investigation which details the cause of the lockout and ConEd’s contingency plan to keep providing service to their customers during the lockout.

Let us be absolutely clear. We were left with no choice but to lock out our union employees. As the contract deadline approached on June 30, we offered union leadership a contract extension of two weeks. The union leadership declined our offer. We then offered seven days’ notice for either side to initiate a work stoppage – either a lockout or a strike. The union leadership again refused our offer to allow our employees to continue to work. So at approximately 2 am on July 1, we had no choice but to protect the safety of our system to provide our customers uninterrupted service by locking our union workers out.

- ConEd (PDF link)

In short, the PDF explains that it was necessary for ConEd to take action ahead of any possible strike which, if unannounced, could leave millions of ConEd customers in a dangerous position as the company hurried to fill the positions of striking employees. The union failed to give ConEd advance notice of whether or not they intended to go on strike due to contract negotiations, so the company was forced to lock them out ahead of time and institute their plan to keep the city’s public utility systems running properly.

The initiation of our contingency plan, after the union’s failure to agree to provide 72-hour advance notice of intention to strike, enabled us to responsibly transition key field positions from our union workers to managers. We spent a year updating our contingency plan. The plan identified essential tasks and staffing levels necessary to keep our electric, steam, and gas systems operating. In addition to the operating procedures, we made sure that adequate support positions would be filled. Employees were trained, sent to their contingency assignments, and are keeping New York powered.

- ConEd (PDF link)
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