Con Edison Workers Boiling Over in Face of Second Heat Wave with Contract Set to Expire on Saturday

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Con Edison Workers Boiling Over in Face of Second Heat Wave with Contract Set to Expire on Saturday

June 28, 2012 - 19:42



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.”

There are 11 Comments

This is one instance where Government Regulation/ Oversite is needed as a matter of National Security. If a large scale blackout/ no-power situation were to occur, as we've been victims to in recent years, it would provide an excellent opportunity for a large scale terror attack to take place. The region would be powerless - no pun intended - to mobilize and or evacuate in an efficient manor.

All Electric and Gas providers should be mandated to be able to maintain and restore power utilizing the most modern and highest quality systems under Homeland Security oversite and standards. These Utilities also should not be publicly traded entitites and instead have all profits reinvested into improving and maintaining service and back up capability.

Power Utilities should not be privately owned.

Instead, Con Ed should be taken over permanently by the NY State government, and the profits used to pay NY State's debts

Obviously, the government must continue to provide many services. Taxes cannot perpetually increase. So the only practical solution to ever-increasing government expenses, is for the government to receive revenue by profitably running utilities.

This is equally true with electricity, telephone and and cable tv services. If there is a monopoly that we all depend on, it should not be privately owned.


That is pretty funny.

Is your solution to everything government ownership?

Perhaps you can provide us with a list of some profitably run government companies ?

Do you think NYS should just confiscate Con Ed or purchase it from the current shareholders ?

What do you think the correct take out valuation would be ?

How should NYS finance this type of deal? Via increased taxes or a debt offering ?

You DO NOT WANT THAT SCENARIO! It would immediately turn into another entity for the Government to raid and mismanage. Service and response would be even worse than at present. FYI the roads and bridges may soon go into a privately managed situation due to the Government's ineptitude at managing things. Government can oversee and enforce regualtion but NOT MANAGE!!!

The only reason our ConEd bills are so high is because of this union so I hope Burke can break them.

How about reporting how much these union workers make? Over $100k is about what I think the bulk of them are making.

Typical of the "news" agencies to highlight the CEO's pay and ignore the real problems; high union salaries, pensions & health care.

Robert Cox's picture

"How about reporting how much these union workers make? Over $100k is about what I think the bulk of them are making."

I put out the union statement and the Con Ed statement.

We report, you decide.

Feel free to add additional info here.

Is it OK for teachers, firefighters andcops to make $100k a year but not Con Ed workers?

Is it OK for teachers, firefighters andcops to make $100k a year but not Con Ed workers?

Way too much for all of them, plus they all get very generous benefits. These salaries & benefits are why our property taxes are through the roof while our property values drop through the floor. For homeowners to pay $15k, $20k or higher in property taxes is UNSUSTAINABLE and the only variable to counter this is the value of your property, meaning they're going down to offset the increase in property taxes.

Con Ed Rates as a Ratio of Costs of Supply to Fees Charged to Customers are among the highest if not the highest in the country.

There are people in the Con Ed offices making under $9.00 per hour. The workers in the field make a fair wage - I'm not going up to those wires to repair them, are you?

The bulk of the rip-off comes from fees, charges, etc.. For example part of your bill goes to finance the MTA.

and Mr Cox, you spin, then report. We decipher and than decide...

Private workers need unions for this very reason. Thay have had there wages cut below a living wage and their benefits nearly eliminated. Meanwhile, we pay a fortune in property taxes so government workers can get never ending pay raises. If unions are good enough for government workers, then they are good enough for those of us in private industry.

Tell Burke to make his cuts at the top so the poor schmucks doing the work can feed their families.