But Only If You Agree Not To Strike
July 2, 2012 12:33 pm
It is currently 88°F in Manhattan. By Thursday, temperatures are expected to reach 95°F. No doubt, air conditioners will be on full blast this week as New Yorkers do what they can to cool down. But as a lockout of 8,500 unionized workers by Consolidated Edison (Con Ed) enters it’s second day — with no signs of them returning to the bargaining table — a larger concern looms. Who’s gonna keep the power going?
Con Ed doesn’t seem all that concerned. Anne Barnard of The New York Times Reports, “About 5,000 managers, including some former union members, will step in to keep the utility running, Con Ed said. But union leaders warned that those managers, who they said included retired supervisors called back to work, might not have the numbers or the training to keep up if the hot weather and the increased demand for air-conditioning created major power failures.” There has already been one accident since the lockout when a worker was burned on his ear in neck at a substation in Brooklyn.
In a move that already puts “their customers and the public at great peril,” Con Ed also seems to be at a loss as to how unionized labor actually works:”In order to protect customers we need a guarantee that there won’t be a sudden work stoppage,” the spokesman said. “We need to run the system safely and reliably and a sudden work stoppage would put that in jeopardy.”
Responding to the company’s demand that the union promise not to strike (or at least give seven days notice) as a precondition for talks to resume, a union spokesman asked, “How does one give up the only leverage a union has?”
One thing is for sure. If power outages become rampant across New York City the way they have in other areas across the Eastern Seaboard in recent days, Con Ed will have a lot bigger things on their mind than work stoppage.
Photo from here