CON EDISON TO PUBLIC: DROP DEAD,
COMPANY DRIVING WORKERS OFF THE CLIFF; CHAIRMAN KEVIN BURKE HAS HIS
MILLIONS, BUT FOR HIS WORKERS IT’S ALL TAKE, NO GIVE
With the summer’s second heat wave settling in this weekend Con Edison is scrambling to maintain power to its aging system while at the same time telling the 8,500 men and women who keep the lights on that they can shove it when it comes to a fair labor contract. Con Ed’s current contract with Local 1-2 of the Utility Workers Union of America, expires at midnight June 30 and the Union’s membership has authorized a strike if contract talks fail.
Harry J. Farrell, President of Local 1-2, said, “Con Edison Chairman Kevin Burke is playing a dangerous game of chicken with the public and has a disaster in the making if he forces a work disruption and the system goes down. Burke’s managers just do not have the knowledge or expertise to keep the system operating if they force our hand. All we are seeking is a fair contract for our labor.”
Farrell pointed out that Burke and his top executives have grown rich on the customers’ dime. Recently he awarded his Board of Directors-whose total compensation is in six figures- with 20% raises, not to mention the already rich stock options they possess. Burke takes in more than $10 million a year and has a guaranteed pension of $18 million, all paid for by Con Ed customers. In contrast, the cost of Members of Local 1-2 makes up less than 5% of a customer’s bill.
Farrell said, “Kevin (King) Burke loves his status on Wall Street as a ‘Dividend Aristocrat’ because of Con Ed’s rock solid stock value, but when it comes to the public he serves, he’ll enrich himself with everything that isn’t nailed down. We’re looking at a long hot summer.”