Con Ed lockout in tenth day
Consolidated Edison and union representatives are set to resume talks over a lockout that is now in its 10th day. Kristen Shaughnessy has more.
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NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- It was back to the bargaining table for Consolidated Edison and the utility workers union as the lockout enters its 10th day. Con Ed's 8,500 unionized employees have been off the job since July 1st.
Hundreds of workers gathered along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn Tuesday morning while dozens more stood outside the company's headquarters in Manhattan.
Those who spoke with us say they are eager to return to work, but not without a good deal.
"We're happy that they're talking right now obviously, but our main concern is obviously our pensions, our wages, our benefits," said one union worker.
"Settle this please. We want to work," said another union worker.
"We can survive out here, they're not going to break us. They want to break us, but they're not going to break us. We've prepared for the worst. So, as long as it takes," added a third union worker.
The sticking point for both sides remains wages, pensions and health benefits. And while the company has agreed to a pay increase, the amount is still being worked out.
"I heard various numbers between 15 and 18 percent. Something like that. That is what management pays. We need to work all that out at the bargaining table," said Con Ed spokesman Michael Clendenin.
Workers say they fear their pensions will be decimated, though Con Ed says that is not true and adds those who already have a pension will not be affected.
"The current pension system stays intact for the people who are here now," Clendenin said. "It is the one for the folks who are coming on, the new hires, that we have been moving toward a different type of pension formula. Most companies don't even offer a pension anymore. We offer both pension and 401K."
Con Ed says 5,000 managers have been working to keep the power flowing during the dispute.
Con Ed worker Paul Grassi, 33, was arrested on assault charges for allegedly blowing an air horn in a manager's ear in the Bronx.
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has asked the state's Public Service Commission to make sure Con Ed has a plan to handle any further heat waves.